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Charlotte Area News

Jones Recommends Rejection Of CHS Proposal

Mecklenburg County Manager Harry Jones said Thursday he is recommending the county end its contract with Carolinas HealthCare System at the end of June 2013, a year earlier than a proposal offered this week by the hospital system. In a memo to county commissioners this (Thursday) afternoon, Jones said the hospital's proposal is "clearly not in the County's best interest" and that the county should reject the offer. In part, he said ending the contract sooner would save the county $7.5 million toward operating losses at the psychiatric hospital at CMC-Randolph. Jones also said he did not think the county should deed the CMC-Randolph building on Billingsley Road to the hospital system, saying the county anticipates it'll need more office space in the area. The remarks comes days before Mecklenburg commissioners are expected to discuss how to proceed with the roughly $42 million hospital contract. On Tuesday, an attorney for Carolinas HealthCare presented a proposal to try to settle a dispute between the hospital and county that has escalated in recent months. The CHS proposal reflects some ideas already discussed by county leaders, including ending a county subsidy to support indigent patients. It also recommends phasing out county money for a psychiatric hospital on Billingsley Road over three years, which County Manager Harry Jones proposed in May. The offer also calls for the hospital to transfer responsibility for other public health services it provides under its contract with the county within the next year. But Jones memo says the county Health Department should take over those services starting in July 2013, saying transferring the work earlier makes sense only if the county's contract ends next year.