Hospital deal with CHS falls apart

Community Health Systems (NYSE: CYH) yanked its offer to affiliate with county-owned Beaufort Regional Health System based in Washington, N.C., the Tennessean reports. In a letter to Beaufort's board and the county manager, the chain mentioned that the community didn't seem ready for such a change.

The decision came after a judge blocked county commissioners from immediately voting to transfer the system.

This is the latest in the continuing saga in which Beaufort has been seeking a hospital operator to take over Beaufort County Medical Center, a financially strapped hospital, and other facilities. Apparently, it's not the first time that Community has withdrawn an offer for BRHS.

Although the hospital board last week favored CHS over two other finalists--LHP Hospital Group of Texas and University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina--in a 5-4 vote, locals have pushed back. Just last Saturday, hundreds gathered at a rally to voice their opposition to the CHS deal.

For-profit CHS had offered $30 million up front to lease the property for 30 years, with an option to buy it for $10 million after that, WNCT reports.

CHS's decision to pull out of the running made hospital employees happy. "Quite frankly, we're ecstatic," Dr Rachel McCarter, Beaufort Regional Health System's chief of staff, told WNCT. "We've been rather clear that for our patient population and for the type of medicine we practice, we really feel that University Health System is a better fit," she said.

To learn more:
- read the Tennessean's story
- read the Daily Reflector's article
- here's the WNCT story