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Lee County Moving to Cut Ties with Americore

From The Lee Daily Register

Lee County Hospital Authority made important announcements last night regarding their work to reopen Lee County’s hospital and their partnership with Americore Health.

Throughout mid and late December, the Authority was in negotiations with Americore over milestones that Americore must meet as part of the Authority’s request for an extension to the state-issued Certificate of Public Need (COPN). Should these milestones not be met, the relationship between the Authority and Americore would automatically cease.

Commissioner Howard Elliott reported that Americore rejected those conditions, and negotiations came to a halt when Americore left the bargaining table.

Mr Elliott reported that, “During the week following the Authority’s Dec 16 meeting, our attorney was contacted by representatives of Americore regarding Americore’s financial situation, and the possibility of the Authority severing its relationship with Americore. These discussions led to intensive negotiations, which actively occurred throughout the holiday weekend.”

Mr Elliott continued, “On or about Dec 30, these negotiations ceased. After a week of no activity and no response from Americore, the chairman delivered notices of default to Americore. We worked with the County and the County Attorney delivering those notices.”

Authority attorney Jeff Mitchell reported that, on the Tuesday after the notices of default were issued, the Authority received a call from Americore. It was at that time, Mitchell said, that active negotiations with them began again—this time discussing terms of separation.

Mr Mitchell reported, “We are making significant progress. I can describe them [the negotiations] as extremely sensitive material. Americore is a company that is in the newspaper a lot and, as we are doing these negotiations, everyone has asked for really sensitive treatment to those conversations.”

Mr Mitchell recommended that the Authority set aside other events regarding Americore and “simply focus on concluding this negotiation and wrapping up the efficient separation of the Hospital Authority and Americore.

COPN Extension Approved

The Authority Special Committee met on Dec 21 to approve a COPN extension request from the Virginia Dept of Health (VDH). Mr Elliott reported that VDH approved the COPN extension for four years with an annual reporting requirement, adding, “Let me make clear that in no way do we expect to need the four years [to open a hospital].”

Meeting to Reconvene Monday

The Authority recessed until Monday, Jan 14 at 6 pm. The purpose of reconvening will be to approve a recommendation to the County Board of Supervisors with terms of the Authority’s separation from Americore.

Monday’s meeting is tentatively scheduled to occur at the Community Center, pending its availability.

Amid all the operational problems, will Pineville and Ellwood City hospital boards be moved to do the same?

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