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Sunday, May 19, 2024 - 10:36 PM


First Published in 1994


Most Citizens Unaware of Decisions made Behind Closed Doors

The Greenville Health System, that has expanded rapidly and bought up multiple surrounding hospitals and medical practices, is in the process of pulling off a major deal that may not be in the best interest of Greenville County Citizens. The system belongs to the citizens of Greenville County. By law it is governed by a board of directors appointed by the Greenville County Legislative Delegation.

The majority of the hospital board has voted to allow the hospital CEO they brought in from Chicago to explore appointing another board of directors that would be independent from the legislative delegation, independent and self-perpetuating and therefore independent from any influence or oversight by the citizens the health system serves or their elected representatives.

Two board members, Lewis Vaughn and Del Baker voted in opposition to the proposed change.

The Greenville County   Legislative Delegation had a meeting last week to discuss the matter. Some of the members were angry that they had been kept in the dark until recently and the CEO is reportedly proceeding toward implementation without legislative approval.

The Health System CEO is reportedly attempting an “end run” around the Legislature and going to the State Supreme Court in an attempt to get a legal ruling that their moving the system from a public to a private organization is legal.

Representatives Garry Smith, Dwight Loftis, Mike Burns and others want to act quickly to do whatever is legislatively necessary to block what some are describing as “theft of the system.”

Senator Mike Fair is chairman of a committee that has jurisdiction over medical matters. By his actions at the meeting, Fair appears to be helping the Health System management delay action by lawmakers.

The Delegation Chairman Rep. Wendy Nanney agreed to delay action until Sen. Fair had a meeting with the Health System board and administration. Smith and others were told that thy could submit questions to be asked at the meeting that was first scheduled for County Square on Tuesday. Over the rainy weekend, Sen. Fair has allegedly agreed to move the meeting to the Hospital Board room downtown on Wednesday Morning. The location will be less convenient for the public to attend.

Two senior physicians with vast experience in local hospital management and operations spoke at the delegation meeting. They were very critical of the plan and predicted severe consequences for county citizens if the private board with no local control or oversight is allowed to materialize.

The GHS argument for the change is that it is the next step in the system’s evolution. Unless there is a groundswell of public opposition to the plan of GHS, the plan is likely to take place. Significant opposition is not likely, because the majority of the public will hear nothing negative about the scheme. The dominant media will report nothing negative about the scheme because their survival and profitability depends on hundreds of thousands of advertising dollars from the GHS budget.