Friday, May 3, 2013
Tidelands Community Hospice and Georgetown Hospital System on Wednesday completed a joint venture agreement, hospice chairman Scott Hutto confirmed Thursday.
“We were not acquired. This is a joint venture we’ve been looking at for an extended period of time. Tidelands and the hospital were looking at ways to strengthen themselves in the community.”
This joint venture will help both and will be better for everybody, he said.
“Tidelands is in control of it,” Hutto said. “We are the majority party. We are still controlling the manner in which the joint venture provides services in our area — Georgetown, Horry and Williamsburg counties. We will continue to provide the same or higher quality.”
The name will remain Tidelands Community Hospice, and the N.E. and Ruby Green Hospice House will keep its name, as well.
It has 12 rooms that remain fairly full on a daily basis.
Hutto said “It’s important for us to keep ties back to our roots, and the services that were planned more than 25 years ago when Tidelands was created.”
The joint venture will give Tidelands and the Georgetown Hospital System opportunities for efficiencies and cost savings. Hutto said the hospice operation will benefit from lower drug costs and other services they provide.
Tidelands Hospice provides inpatient end of life care at its hospice house. Nurses and volunteers also visit patients in their homes.
For the hospital system, Hutto continued, the new healthcare laws require the hospital to be more proactive in patient care. The joint venture with Tidelands will help GHS provide that.
“There are a host of different ways we can work more closely together,” he said.
“We will still be separate in other ways. The joint venture will be the employer of those people working in the joint venture. It is a separate entity from the hospital.”
“Tidelands has always been a competitor in the hospice world. Most of the other hospice programs in Georgetown are for-profit. I’m assuming this will make us more competitive,” Hutto said. “We will have a stronger relationship with the hospital.”
“The hospital and Tidelands both need to be competitive in the community, and continue to provide the best of care in end of life situations.”
Dr. Gerald Harmon is one of the medical directors for Tidelands Hospice, and Shane Player is executive director.
Hutto said he doesn’t anticipate any personnel changes at Tidelands Hospice because of the joint venture, though he expects there could be additions as it reaches more patients.
“I think in the long run we’re going to see it will be very good for our community,” Hutto said.
“Our mission and focus have not changed. We’re just hoping to continue to be better in the future.”
By Tommy Howard