Beaufort Co. Commissioners postpone dissolving hospital board

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Beaufort County Commissioners voted unanimously to postpone dissolving the Hospital Authority Board during a special meeting Monday.

In July, commissioners voted 6-1 to dissolve the board in a decision that came down to who would control the nearly $6 million in the board’s trust fund. However, a lingering liability case involving the IRS made commissioners postpone dissolving the board.

One of the hospital board’s mission was to oversee and handle liability claims stemming from care at the hospital prior to Vidant Health taking it over in 2011. County Manager Brian Alligood estimated the pending claim will cost between $100,000 and $300,000 to settle.

The decision to postpone the disbanding of the hospital board enables them to continue to operate and handle these cases for the time being. Commissioner Hood Richardson, who is the chairman of the hospital board, was the only commissioner to vote against dissolving it earlier in July.

“I voted for this today because it’s the best thing for Beaufort County, but they have stripped us of our ability to negotiate and save the county money,” Richardson said.

He said when the board is dissolved, the taxpayers of Beaufort County will then be on the line for any liability suits filed.

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