Deal for EMS funding in Kershaw County moves forward

Published: Mar. 1, 2015 at 11:24 PM EST|Updated: Oct. 20, 2017 at 4:10 PM EDT
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KERSHAW COUNTY, SC (WIS) - After months discussion, a deal may be finally moving forward to settle EMS funding for Kershaw County.

The county is considering taking over the ambulance service from KershawHealth once the hospital comes under new management.

In exchange, KerhshawHealth would provide the county with funding. At this point the magic number appears to be $2.6 million. That's the amount the hospital board offed the county just weeks ago, funding ambulance service until early 2017.

The county council is considering the offer as it works out new ordinances to make the lease of KershawHealth official.

The hospital would come under the management of Capella Healthcare if the entire deal goes through. CaPella intends to lease the hospital for a period of years and purchase the equipment inside.

Passing off EMS service to the county was a major provision that Capella wanted to see happen before it took over. That's because of the burden of cost its placed on the hospital over the years.

The Kershaw County council is now considering four ordinances. One would turn over county control of KershawHealth's property, in exchange for the $2.6 million. Another would create means for the county to collect tax revenue from the hospital in the coming years.

County officials are hoping those funds plus the bridge money of $2.6 million will be enough to support county EMS without creating an impact to taxpayers.

"We were faced with one," Kershaw County Councilman Jimmy Johns said. "Not having an ambulance service or two, having to raise taxes and dip into our reserves to do it. As I said before by getting this bridge money it carries us through."

Kershaw County Chairman Julian Burns said the people of Kershaw County should feel good about the change.

"One, they'll be guaranteed healthcare," Burns said. "Secondly, they'll be guaranteed emergency medical services and an ambulance service that's second to none, and we intend to keep it that way."

If the ordinances get approved, the $2.6 million would be due when KerhsawHealth's deal with Capella closes, which is projected to happen sometime this spring.

County leaders still have to have a public hearing on all four actions and expected to take place at the council's next meeting in just a few weeks.

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