Fort Mill Times

Piedmont makes its case again

FORT MILL — Less than two months after picking up an endorsement from the Fort Mill Town Council, representatives from Piedmont Medical Center were back at Town Hall Friday morning.

Piedmont President and CEO Charles Miller spent about a half hour highlighting key points about his company’s proposal to build a Fort Mill hospital. Miller’s main theme was Piedmont's record of investment in York County.

“Since taking over Piedmont in 1995, we’ve invested more than $130 million in the facility,” he said.

“We’ve reinvested more money at PMC than we’ve made from it.”

He said recent improvements at PMC include new heart treatment and surgery programs, making all of the rooms private and adding a $30 million Women’s Center.

Miller also emphasized the nearly $2.7 million in estimated taxes the hospital would pay if it wins state approval for the plan. The tax revenue would provide approximately $380,000 for the town and $1.47 million for the Fort Mill School District. York County stands to gain $530,000 with another $270,000 flowing to the countywide school system, Miller said.

Miller’s company is competing with three others for the right to build a new hospital in York County. The others are Presbyterian Healthcare, part of Novant Health, Hospital Partners and Carolinas HealthCare System – both based in Charlotte. In his second pitch to the town council – which already went on record with its support of PMC – Miller stressed that community investment would not be limited to tax revenues.

“Getting involved in the community is just part of being a good corporate citizen,” he said.

Mayor Charles Powers said during a question and answer period after the presentation that any time the town has gone to Piedmont for help, the company has pitched in.

When asked by Councilman Ken Starnes why Piedmont's cost to build its proposed hospital was more expensive than the plans put forward by its competitors, Miller said the difference comes from the equipment each will include. Piedmont’s costs include a list of equipment going into every room in the proposed hospital. The list was more than an inch thick after all the pages were printed out, Miller said.

Before the application process is complete everyone in competition for the right to build the hospital will have to submit a complete list and cost estimates for construction could change.

Miller talked about the recent pricing issues between PMC and York County and said the hospital has been aggressively addressing the issue. Now, he said, PMC is in the middle the field of the nine other hospitals Piedmont’s charges are compared against.

Of other legal troubles facing Piedmont’s parent company Tenet HealthCare, Miller said the company is working with authorities to resolve put the issues.

“This is a year of stabilization for us,” he said. “It is corporate policy that we don’t offer legal assistance to any employee we feel has committed a crime.”