BCMH still open for business

Despite filing for Chapter 9 under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and facing significant financial challenges there are no immediate plans to close the Bamberg County Memorial Hospital. “The hospital is still open for business and capable of providing very good care,” Bamberg County Council Councilman Chris Wilson told those gathered in the Bamberg County Courthouse Wednesday night August 3, for a joint meeting of members of the Bamberg County Council and Bamberg County Hospital Board. Wilson noted that the emergency room of the hospital is open and arrangements have been made to make transfers for cases that cannot be handled in Bamberg.

Wilson, also noted in the meeting that included an approximately two and a half hour closed meeting of hospital board and county council members, to discuss a “contractual/legal matters” concerning the hospital; that Bamberg County Council has taken a first and second reading of an ordinance to authorize a Tax Anticipation Note (TAN) not to exceed $500,000 for the hospital’s operation. A third and final reading of the (TAN) will be held on August 15.

Wilson said he wanted to “make clear” that county council is taking “every step” to make sure as a council any additional money put into the hospital through funds obtained in the (TAN) or “otherwise” do so without a tax impact on the citizens, but he could not make any guarantees. “We are doing everything we can to make sure there is no tax impact on the citizens, but there are no guarantees,” he said.

Wilson, noted that while hospital operations have been “stream-lined” to make the “most efficient” health care and financial operations available; the hospital board and county council are “actively considering” negotiations with and investigations with other options that would be “in the best interest” of the county, hospital and citizens of Bamberg County.

Bamberg County Hospital Board Chair Dr. Danette McAlhaney said she appreciated the support from county council for healthcare in Bamberg County and was appreciative of the (TAN) that was given first and second reading approval by county council. “It (the TAN) provides us with a level of comfort in moving forward,” Dr. McAlhaney said. She noted that the emergency room, patients’ beds, x-ray and the lab at the hospital were all “open for business.”

Councilmember Wilson noted the hospital board was still “engaged” with the management of the hospital through “very difficult circumstances.” He also cited the job done by the employees and staff of the hospital. “The employees and staff are all doing a very strong job under difficult circumstances. The hospital board and county council are committed to stabilizing healthcare in the county from a provisional and financial standpoint,” Wilson said.