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After a 90- minute closed meeting of a special called meeting of the Bamberg County Hospital Board of Trustees on January 17, in the administrative office conference room of the hospital, the Board reconvened into open session and took the following action:

“The Board has elected to empower the administration to implement operational changes necessary to include a reduction in force, renegotiation of contracts, etc,” According to a statement read by Bamberg County Hospital Board Chairwoman Lou Ann Carter, at Monday night’s meeting.

According to a press release issued on Tuesday by the hospital:

Like a lot of rural hospitals, Bamberg County Hospital is facing some challenging financial situations. It has become necessary to implement operational changes to move toward financial stability. Therefore, on Monday, January 17, hospital administration developed a reduction in force plan that will have a major impact on salary and benefits reduction expenses.

In addition to these staffing reductions, the hospital will eliminate the Baylor program and the nursing department will be reorganized. This will include consolidation of departments and salary alignment throughout the organization. The BCH Board has given the Administrator the authority to negotiate contracts which when enacted will reduce the cost of supplies, professional fees, purchased services as well as bad debt management and other direct expense reduction.

“We are in a financial crisis of which we were not made aware until days before Christmas. The Board has been working diligently and tirelessly with County Council and hospital administration to identify strategies and resources to support the operation of the hospital. On a parallel track, the negotiations moving toward a tri-county health care system are ongoing”, said Lou-Ann Carter, Board Chairman. “Our current situation is in no way related to the Tri-County Health Initiative.”

At present, all currently offered services will remain in place including the 24 hour emergency room, surgery and inpatient/outpatient services. The Bamberg County Hospital must downsize in order to continue to offer essential healthcare. These changes will make the hospital more efficient. Quality patient care is the number one priority.

The next meeting of the hospital board is scheduled for January 26, at 7:00 p.m.

The hospital board’s decision to implement a reduction in workforce is the latest development involving the hospital. At the January 10, monthly meeting of the Bamberg County Council, Chris Mattingly was introduced as the new interim Chief Financial Officer/ Chief Executive Officer of the Bamberg County Memorial Hospital.

Mattingly is a senior consultant with Dallas-based Financial Resource Group LLC, who was selected to provide interim management services at the facility. Mattingly is a senior consultant with FRG with more than 29 years of experience in health care management.

Asked by County Council members at their January 10, meeting if he had any comments about being appointed to his new job, Mattingly simply said, “I’ll do my best.”

Mattingly’s selection to the position of Bamberg County Hospital CFO/CEO comes after the board’s decision on December 26, to put former CFO/CEO Carl Menist on leave pending the completion of a financial audit by McGregor and Co. The hospital also put in place a search to find an interim management firm at the time of Menist’s dismissal.

Hospital board Chair Lou Ann Carter and members of the Bamberg County Council have stressed that Menist’s dismissal has nothing to do with Bamberg County’s initiative to pursue a regional healthcare system with Allendale and Barnwell Counties.

 
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