Late last month, Greenville Regional Hospital officials announced an agreement with the Hospital Sisters Health System, or HSHS, to explore a possible affiliation between the two entities. That possibility was a major topic of discussion at this week’s Bond County Board of Health meeting.
HSHS offers many of the same services provided by the Bond County Health Department, particularly home health and hospice services, and there is concern that there would be competition between the newly-affiliated HSHS hospital and the health department.
Public Health Administrator Mark Ayers said he had heard rumors recently that the two groups would offer the competing services and “see who wins”. He said he had a meeting scheduled with an HSHS official for this past Tuesday afternoon and planned to talk with them about the “gentleman’s agreement” the department has had with Greenville Regional Hospital for over 30 years not to offer competing services. Board member Dr. Tom Dawdy said, “Head to head is not acceptable; Bond County will be the loser.” Ayers said he would highlight the importance of partnership rather than competition and the similarities between the department’s mission and the hospital’s Franciscan mission.
Ayers said HSHS does not offer home health and hospice services in Litchfield, where they operate a hospital, due to the existence of two competing entities in the area.
Home health and hospice are key services, providing a good deal of funding for the Bond County Health Department.