The City of Pineville is among the top three entities bidding to purchase the Pineville Community Health Center.
“I appreciate all of the hours that the employees have been putting in. That’s why I’m so concerned with where we’re going,” Mayor Scott Madon said. “We want the city to stay in the mix to — there’s no other way to say it — have a say so in who is going to run the hospital. It’s been here for 80 years, it’s part of our community. I don’t want to hand-pick who runs it, but I want to make sure it’s somebody who is going to take care of our community and our employees and be here for the long term. Hopefully we’ll never have to deal with something like this again.”
An emergency meeting was held on Tuesday that included an executive session that lasted about an hour and a half. Following that closed session, Councilman Tuck Woolum made a motion that the city submit a bid on the hospital. The motion was seconded by Council woman Pat Bingham and passed unanimously.
Tuesday at 5 p.m. was the deadline for sealed bids to be submitted for all of the hospital properties or for individual pieces of property owned by the hospital. The top three bidders now have until 5 p.m. Thursday to submit final bids through an online bidding portal. Proceeds from the auction will be used to repay debts incurred by the hospital when it was known at Pineville Community Hospital to settle its bankruptcy case.
“This is something we felt like the city needed to do to try and secure some of the assets for the community. At this time I’m not at liberty to discuss the amount,” Mayor Scott Madon said immediately following that meeting.
The council met in an emergency meeting on Wednesday to discuss their bidding plans.
A small group of media and supervisors from PCHC were on hand.
“We’re just here to say thank you to all of you. We wouldn’t have made it this far is you hadn’t have stepped in,” one of the hospital employees said. “We appreciate everything you have done.”
Before going into executive sesson on Wednesday, Madon answered a few questions from the media.
He said a big reason the city decided to get involved in the bidding was to keep the hospital, its internal assets and the rural care clinic packaged together.
“We were concerned that a company would bid and buy nothing but the internal parts — the beds, the desks, the cafeteria equipment. That could have happened because there were listed as a separate item on the bid sheet,” Madon said. “In our negotiations to secure those assets, the hospital employees get the first 50 percent of that money. That’s another reason I wanted to bid on the assets of the hospital, we bid more than enough to cover their last payroll.”
Madon also said there was language in the bid package that said the “highest” bid and the “best” bid would be accpted.
“Sometimes the highest bid may not be the best. I think it’s very important to our community that the second part of the bid package is taken into consideration for the purchasing of our hospital,” he said. “It’s important to us to keep the hospital together as we have know it over the years.”