County approves ‘monumental’ partnership agreement with Carolina Healthcare

Published 3:12 pm Monday, June 9, 2008

The Polk County Board of Commissioners approved an agreement between St. Luke&squo;s Hospital and Carolina Healthcare System (CHS) on Monday with praise to the St. Luke&squo;s Board of Trustees for making a &dquo;monumental decision.&dquo;

St. Luke&squo;s has decided to partner with CHS, which will manage the hospital for $500,000 per year. St. Luke&squo;s plans to profit from the management services by cutting costs and gaining revenue through CHS services.

All commissioners praised St. Luke&squo;s efforts in making the decision to partner with CHS, which involved hundreds of hours of research.

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Polk County commissioner Tommy Melton, who is also a St. Luke&squo;s Hospital board member, called the decision the next most monumental decision for Polk County in this century.

&dquo;But as you board members know, several months ago we made the decision to buy Lake Adger and I made the statement that was probably the most monumental decision that will be made in this century,&dquo; said Melton. &dquo;I think this is one of the next most monumental decisions ever to be made in the century ‐ that St. Luke&squo;s has chosen to affiliate. I think this going to provide and give the best quality healthcare for our citizens and that&squo;s what we&squo;re here for, gentlemen, to maintain the best that we can for our citizens.&dquo;

Commissioner Harry Denton thanked the board of trustees for all the hard work they did on making the decision to affiliate and noted the many hours that were spent on the decision.

&dquo;And they are like myself, this has been one project they want to make the right decision on,&dquo; Denton said. &dquo;It&squo;s been a tough one to make for Polk County and St. Luke&squo;s Hospital has been a part of Polk County for many, many years. I&squo;m sure the board of trustees feels the same as we do, that this will be a good decision for all the citizens of Polk County.&dquo;

Commissioner Tom Pack said he had some concerns and asked many questions of hospital employees and board members and thanked the staff for providing answers.

&dquo;I had a couple of concerns but I&squo;ve spoken with a couple of the board members and they&squo;ve assured me this is the way we need to go,&dquo; Pack said.

Commissioner Warren Watson said St. Luke&squo;s has kept commissioners informed throughout the process.

&dquo;The hospital should be commended for doing such a good job, being thorough, doing the research and looking at all avenues,&dquo; said Watson.