The affiliation with Cape Fear Valley Health Systems passed one hurdle for approval, according to Bladen County Hospital CEO David Masterson. He told the Journal on Thursday he had been notified the CFVHS board had voted to move forward with the affiliation, sale, and lease.
“It was approved under the terms we submitted as we expected it would,” said Masterson. “Cape Fear Valley was insistent throughout the process this become a lease/purchase and it became non-negotiable.”
Masterson said there is a termination clause that can be activated by BCH if CFVHS acts on the option to purchase. “If everything is working smoothly and everyone is happy and the transition goes smoothly, we can move forward on the process,” he said.
He said Cape Fear Valley will have between three and five years to act on the option to purchase. If CFVHS exercises the option, the County Commissioners will then have to decide whether or not to go forward with the sale.
However, Cape Fear Valley makes no mention of a sale. According to a CFV’s press release, the terms are a five-year lease with the option to renew or terminate agreement with a six months notice.
Under the agreement, CFVHS would manage BCH’s daily operations. In return, CFV would make a $1 million lease payment each year. The funds will be used to make capital improvements to the hospital, including repairs to the roof. CFV will also invest $500,000 per year in new equipment for the facility over the five-year term. The equipment would belong to Cape Fear Valley.
,“Healthcare doesn’t stop at the county line,” said CFV CEO Mike Nagowski. “Already 25 percent of our patients come from outside Cumberland County, including more than 350 patients annually from Bladen County.”
Masterson said the Bladen County Commissioners have scheduled a public hearing regarding the affiliation, sale, and lease of the hospital for Thursday evening, March 13, at 6:30 p.m. at the Bladen Community College Auditorium in Dublin.
Masterson said representatives from CFV will be present to explain to the residents how the affiliation will work and how this process benefits CFVHS, and the community. The public will have the opportunity during the meeting to address the commissioners and CFVHS representatives.
Masterson said all the documents will be made available to the public no later then Monday. Copies of the contracts can be viewed to the public at the Bladen County Manager’s Office, the Bladen County Public Library in Elizabethtown, or at the county’s website, www.bladeninfo.org by Monday.
Once the public hearing is held, the documents will be presented to the County Commissioners on March 25 at their meeting for their consideration.
The affiliation was the topic of discussion for the BCH Board of Trustees on Tuesday night. They learned from Masterson the final version of the documents contain terms giving CFVHS the option to purchase the assets of BCH in three years, with an ultimate option to buy the real estate assets as well.
“There is an ongoing covenant attached that there will always be a hospital in Bladen County,” said Masterson.
He told the board the final version contained negotiated terms for a five-year lease/operating agreement with CFVHS, an option for CFVHS to purchase the non-real estate assets of BCH within three years, with an ultimate option for CFVHS to purchase the real estate assets of the hospital. CFVHS will do a feasibility study for a new hospital within two years. He explained the board’s role changes to that of an advisory board. The target date for the affiliation to take place is May11.