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Calhoun also OKs hospital borrowing; RMC pursuing advance payments for Medicare
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Calhoun also OKs hospital borrowing; RMC pursuing advance payments for Medicare

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Calhoun County

ST. MATTHEWS -- Calhoun County Council has given the Regional Medical Center permission to seek proposals to establish a line of credit.

Council also gave the hospital permission to participate in the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Program Loan program during Monday’s council meeting.

The hospital is seeking a $24 million loan from the MAAP program.

Regional Medical Center Chief Financial Officer Liza Porterfield said the program will allow hospitals to ask for an advance on future Medicare payments.

“The purpose of this program is to give cash, kind of accelerate cash into hospitals and providers so they will be able to cover and bridge that gap during this period with COVID-19,” Porterfield said.

“This program basically allows us to tap into future Medicare payments that would be due to the hospital, and it allows us to get this money in advance,” she said.

Porterfield said the program is essentially an interest-free loan. There is a 120-day period before the repayment process begins.

“With that repayment, it’s not a big debt where they say you’re going to owe this every month. They will essentially recoup any payments,” she said.

Porterfield said the hospital will submit Medicare claims as normal and instead of receiving payment, the Medicare service will apply the claim toward the hospital’s outstanding balance.

The hospital is also seeking to establish a $25 million line of credit. The hospital is currently seeking proposals from lenders.

The hospital is owned by Orangeburg and Calhoun counties. Orangeburg County Council approved the hospital’s efforts last week.

RMC officials will seek permission from the county councils at a later date to establish a line of credit.

The hospital is pursuing the loans as it experiences an increase in supply pricing and a decline in revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic. The hospital has also asked a portion of its employees to work fewer hours or work in other departments.

Also during the meeting:

• Council approved landscape maintenance bids for various properties located in the county, including an $8,500 contract with Fairview Nursery for the removal of shrubbery at the County Courthouse.

Council also approved two contracts with True Blue Landscaping.

The first contract, which is $7,695, is for maintenance at the county industrial park. The second contract, which is $14,675, is for maintenance at the County Annex and Agriculture and Courthouse Complex.

• Council approved an emergency ordinance establishing standards for electronic meetings. Monday’s meeting was held via teleconference.

• County officials announced the cancellation of the Purple Martin Festival. The festival is scheduled to return in 2021.

• Council approved first reading by title only of several ordinances for FY 2020-21.

Council approved an ordinance to appropriate funds for the operation, debt service building fund and food service for county public schools, Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College and the county Disabilities and Specials needs Board.

It also approved ordinances to provide for the levy of taxes for capital improvements and debt service; to provide fees to operate and maintain the water and wastewater services and to provide fees to operate and maintain the Calhoun Hills Golf Complex.

Council approved an ordinance for the levy of 4.12 mills to operate and maintain the Sandy Run Fire District. It also approved an ordinance to appropriate and authorize funds to operate the Calhoun County Rural Fire District.

It also approved an ordinance to provide for the levy of taxes for county purposes.

• County Administrator John McLaughlin informed council that officials are working on plans to re-open county buildings that are closed due to the coronavirus.

He also reported that the county is pursuing grant opportunities with the U.S. Department of Transportation Build for Roadway Infrastructure to connect Old Sandy Run Road to Frontage Road.

Signage has been added to the Sandy Run Industrial Park, he said. McLaughlin noted that the grand opening of the park has been postponed due to the coronavirus.

Contact the writer: bharris@tiimesanddemocrat.com or 803-596-6530.

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Staff Writer

Bradley Harris is a Government and Sports Reporter. The Irmo, SC native is a 2018 graduate of Claflin University and recipient of the 2018 South Carolina Press Association Collegiate Journalist of the Year Award.

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