Mar 21, 2012
01:07 PMThe Daily Scoop
County Commissioners Continue Debate on Pardee-Mission Joint Venture
Members of the Henderson County Board of Commissioners met Wednesday morning at the King Street conference room.
WHAT HAPPENED? Wednesday morning, members of the Henderson County Board of Commissioners continued their ongoing debate about the joint health care center to be built and run by Mission Health System in Asheville and Pardee Hospital on Hendersonville Road in Fletcher.
WHY DO YOU CARE? That location is in the backyard of Fletcher's Park Ridge Health and marks another Pardee partnership in the increasingly competitive healthcare business in Western North Carolina. It's also kind of interesting that members of the Henderson County Commissioners initially Pardee to delay the December groundbreaking ceremony for the project because they wanted more information about the partnership and Pardee's Board of Directors refused.
HOW DID IT GO DOWN? As they had in January, commissioners again wanted Pardee to spell out what is going on because the county owns the property Pardee is built upon and Commissioner Charlie Messer sits on Pardee's Board of Directors, Commissioner Larry Young wants Pardee to tell the county exactly where things are with the memo of understanding and any contracts between the two health care giants in WNC.
"(Pardee CEO Jay) Kirby said he has a memo of understanding, but that is not the same as a legally binding contract," Young said. "As far as I am concerned, we need to have the paperwork and contracts drawn up before we start construction so everybody is on the same page and the public knows what's happening."
Commissioner Messer said he has full support and faith in this shared venture and that no one is hiding anything.
"It takes a long time to get these things processed and Mr. Kirby will have the papers available before construction starts," Messer responded. "I have enough faith in Mr. Kirby and the hospital board to belie this will happen. The process is continuing. Everything will be finalized at the appropriate time and this board will have all the information."
Specifically, the commissioners want to review the legal language that this proposed joint venture made Pardee an equal partner in sharing the land and governance of the shared facility.
"Our vote was a to go forward with planning, not to approve any construction," countered Commissioner Bill O'Conner. "Before there is any construction done, there needs to be a plan and it needs to come before this board before anything moves forward."
Messer replied that no entity involved in the joint venture would move ahead without permission from the board, adding that an update on this and many other issues would be presented at Pardee's Board of Directors meeting next Wednesday.
That, however, was not enough reassurance for Commissioner Young.
"I think before I put my name on the line, I need to know there is an airtight position for Henderson County," Young said. "We need to be an equal player in all this."
WANT MORE? Visit missionpardeehealthcampus.org for details about the project.
WHAT’S NEXT? Kirby was not at Wednesday's Commissioner's meeting on King Street and did not respond to calls for comment, but he will update Pardee's Board of Directors about the proposed $50 million project. Look for this issue to continue to be discussed at future commissioners meetings until the joint venture opens in January 2013.
Correspondent Jonathan Rich may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.