Failure of hospital deal leaves board in limbo
Written by Jerry E. Halmon   

With Dobbs Equity Partners having reneged on their part of an agreement to provide an acute care center and construct a regional hospital in the County, by not signing a contract by a June 30, deadline, hospital board officials were left with the question of “where do we go from here” at a special call meeting held Thursday night in the hospital’s administrative offices. Hospital Board Chair Dr. Danette McAlhaney noted that the hospital’s first obligation was to its creditors, adding the bankruptcy case was depended on closing the hospital deal with Dobbs.

“Everything is just in limbo right now,” Dr. McAlhaney said, adding that “we’re looking at various paths we have available to go from here. McAlhaney stated that there was “nothing on our part that we didn’t do to allow the contract with Dobbs to go forward.” She noted that it was her understanding that County Council had even offered Dobbs a one week extension to close the deal and got no response.

“It’s a shame things ended the way they have. I think that’s a poor reflection on them. I don’t think it looks poorly on us. We did everything we could. When things work out this way it’s usually for the best. I think we are probably better off without them as far as Bamberg goes.”

Board member Al Palmer asked McAlhaney if she knew what was happening in Barnwell. McAlhaney noted that she had spoken with Barnwell County Hospital Administrator Mary Valliant and was told by Valliant that Barnwell County Council had notified her that they would be cutting back at the Barnwell County Hospital and Dobbs was on longer involved over there either.

“I think we know what kind of people they are now,” board members agreed, referring to Dobbs.

Joining the meeting via telephone was hospital bankruptcy attorney Stan McGuffin, who said because of the Fourth of July Holiday, he had been unable to communicate with “some people” involved in the case and he hoped to be getting some more “clarity” the first part of next week.

“At this point I’m really not sure what I can say. There are some conversations going on. It’s kind a in an unknown situation right now,” McGuffin said, adding we hope to have some clarity in a week or two.

Also during the meeting:

• Hospital Board members agreed that they would pay the hospital’s electric bill of $23,000, which included a late charge for June and charges for July. Board members agreed that they needed to try to get Dobbs to pay the electric bill for the time they used the acute care center. Board members agreed that a refrigerator and server needed to be moved to the administration building to cut down on the electrical cost and the mammography machine needed to be disassembled.