Pisgah throws in the towel

PHS sports contract with hospital terminated
By Shelby Harrell Staff Writer | Aug 12, 2014

Athletic officials at Pisgah High School have been toying with the idea of contracting with Southeastern Sports Medicine for months, and now that the school has terminated its contract with the local hospital, PHS can move forward with another company.

The agreement, signed by PHS Principal Greg Bailey and Haywood Regional Medical Center Interim CEO Richard Grogan, terminated the contract between the two entities, which became effective on Aug. 6.

The letter cites the change as “a mutual understanding” between Pisgah High School and the MedWest Health System. MedWest has since been purchased by Duke LifePoint, and has been renamed Haywood Regional Medical Center. According to the letter, there are no outstanding obligations owed by either party.

“MedWest has never denied or been unwilling to provide, services to Pisgah High School,” Bailey noted in an email. “For many years prior to my appointment as principal at Pisgah, sports medicine services were provided by other agencies. Once at Pisgah, I made the decision within my first month to move those services back to MedWest to allow them the opportunity to service our athletes and their families.”

“I am grateful for the relationships and service provided to Pisgah by MedWest over the past three years. I wish them great success as they move forward,” he further noted. “We have made the decision to return to a sports medicine provider that many of our athletes and their families have well established relationships with. The new provider services the overwhelming majority of our athletes in Haywood County.”

Fall sports are currently in session, and now that Pisgah’s sports contract has been terminated, Bailey will immediately have to decide which company PHS will contract with for the 2014-15 school year. Tuscola High School will remain under contract with the hospital until November.

According to Bailey, PHS has not signed a contract with any other company, but he said the school was leaning toward negotiating with Southeastern Sports Medicine.

Though nothing is official, he said an athletic trainer from Southeastern Sports Medicine was filling in to help with sports this season until an official contract has been signed.

“We will share the details of our new relationship when it is finalized,” Bailey noted.

Since Grogan is in the middle of the hospital transition, he didn’t have many details about the change, but said he understood that a sports contract was under renewal and that the staff at PHS didn’t want to renew with the company.

“It was our understanding that the high school had an interest in working with another organization to provide this service and we wanted to honor their wishes and allow them to do that. We were honored to have provided, safe, high-quality care to these students,” Grogan said.

For years, Haywood County Schools have kept business in the local community by contracting with the hospital for its sports medicine services. But at a work session in June, several school officials spoke out about their concerns with the care their athletes received from the hospital vs. the staff at Southeastern Sports Medicine.

Those in favor of contracting with the hospital included Bonnie Coleman, athletic director at Waynesville Middle School, Rodney Mashburn, the athletic director at Tuscola High School, Brandon Allen, head football coach at Tuscola.

Officials from Bethel Middle School and PHS attended the work session to advocate for Southeastern Sports Medicine. Officials from Tuscola High School and Waynesville Middle School were in favor of keeping its contract with the hospital.

Unless the school board changes its current policy, it will be up to the principal of each school to choose which medical facility to contract with each year. There are no written contracts for middle school.

"We continue to be committed to providing sports medicine services to the other Haywood County schools who remain under contract with us," Grogan said. "Additionally, we will continue to care for the healthcare needs of all Haywood County, including our children."