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Commissioners To Discuss CHS Contract Tuesday

Mecklenburg County Commissioners meet this week to discuss how to handle a $121 million contract with Carolinas Healthcare System. County Manager Harry Jones has told commissioners several times how he wants the county to handle the agreement. He wants to end it. The county pays CHS about $22 million each year to offset operating losses at CMC-Randolph, a psychiatric hospital the county owns and CHS operates. Until recently, the county paid the hospital system $17 million dollars annually for indigent care. But at Jones's recommendation, commissioners voted to stop those payments. Jones has said CHS makes too much money for the county to subsidize the hospital chain. Larry Dagenhart, a lawyer for CHS, sent commissioners a settlement offer last week. He says the contract requires the county to continue the indigent care payments. But he says CHS is willing to cap county costs to the Randolph facility at $20 million next year and then $18 million and $15 million the following years. That didn't satisfy Jones. In a letter to commissioners, he told them he wants to end the contract in two years, a year earlier than he first proposed. Commissioners will discuss the matter at the government center tomorrow at 3:00 p.m.