SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The public dispute between the Chatham County Hospital Authority and Memorial Health continues.
WTOC has obtained a letter sent from the Memorial Health Board of Directors to the Hospital Authority and County Commission Chairman Al Scott. This comes after the authority called a special meeting earlier this week.
We've been looking over this 7-page letter Friday, signed by the entire Memorial Board of Directors, and it's a direct response to the requests that came out of the Hospital Authority's special meeting on Tuesday. In that meeting, the authority expressed a desire to move forward with seeking another partner, but they also laid out several requests, including a financial audit of Memorial Health.
"To that end, we are calling for the health system to work with us, collaboratively and openly, to identify new partners for Memorial Health; partners who are dedicated to the continued provision of core services and the protection of the community's largest healthcare asset," said Don Waters, Chairman, Chatham County Hospital Authority.
Authority members also addressed how they've been blamed for the failure of the Novant deal.
"We are categorically rejecting those accusations. Our volunteers have worked dutifully, and have diligently engaged themselves in the service of the community, and work tirelessly to ensure healthcare in Chatham County continues well into the future," said Art Dana, Hospital Authority board member.
In this new letter, Memorial Board members are basically standing their ground, saying they do have the right to enter into a partnership and even assign a lease without the Hospital Authority's approval.
They're also upset Authority members did not reach out to Novant after the deal fell through, like they said they would.
According to the letter, Memorial Board members still want to seek a new partnership, but they want to go back to square one and clarify the boundaries and responsibilities of the Hospital Authority first.
If they don't find a partner, it could cost taxpayers $40 to $50 million a year to fund trauma services and high levels of uninsured patients.
We reached out to every member of the Chatham County Hospital Authority Friday but none were available for comment. Chatham County Commission Chairman Al Scott also declined to comment on the letter.