Public hearing being considered for University purchase of McDuffie medical center

The chairman of the board that governs the McDuffie Regional Medical Center told county commissioners Tuesday that a public hearing on University Health Care System's offer to purchase the hospital is being considered.

Bill Doupe, chairman of the McDuffie County Hospital Authority, also promised that if the hospital is sold it will not move from McDuffie County.

"Our goal -- and we're all committed to it -- is keeping health care in McDuffie County, not just for the next year or five years. We want to be here 20 years from now, 30 years from now, 50 years from now," he said.

Hospital administrator Doug Keir also told the board that the medical center has no long-term debt. Doupe said that has given the board an opportunity to carefully consider the University offer.

The hospital authority and University have a confidentiality agreement that prevents discussion of the details of the offer.

"I think it may be frustrating for some of you and for members of the public who may be listening that you don't hear a lot about what's going on with the negotiations," Doupe said, "and the reason for that is that it's a silent process."

But he said the board looks at the solution as a community effort.

"If we don't do something, we're not going to have a hospital. And we need a hospital to stay in McDuffie County," Doupe said.

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