Anyone who has paid a visit to one of our fine hospitals in the Greenville Health System can attest that times have certainly changed for the better. As a graduate of the labor and delivery unit at the old Allen Bennett Memorial Hospital in Greer (i.e. – I was born there), I can attest that the new Greer Memorial Hospital is light years ahead.
The same can be said for those who remember Greenville General Hospital which gave way to Greenville Memorial. The only positive childhood memory that I have of Greenville General was the grill and soda shop on the first floor, or maybe it was in the basement. They served, in my mind’s childish memory, the best ice cream floats ever created. Before Greenville Memorial set the new standard for hospital care, my parents decided that my much needed tonsillectomy would be performed at St. Francis. As a seven year old, I was quite impressed with the nuns who came by my room to pray. I was less impressed with the post-operation ice cream reward which acted as a poor proxy for a Greenville General float.
GHS has progressed with the times and even when faced with unprecedented healthcare confusion, the GHS Board of Trustees continues to work through the GHS president and administration to ensure that the citizens of Greenville County have access to quality healthcare. Of course, when we are admitted to the hospital, the last thing on our minds is the GHS board. We are concerned that our physicians and medical staff are the best that we can find and it is they that we must thank for making GHS a leading regional healthcare provider. Like many of the people who I talk with, my family and myself have benefitted greatly from the superior medical staff that have made GHS their home.
GHS has proved itself more than capable to compete and prosper in our current healthcare environment that favors regional systems over standalone hospitals. GHS has been successful ever since the Greenville County Legislative Delegation created the GHS Board of Trustees back in 1947.
Having developed a tradition of proactive behavior, we should not be surprised that the GHS board has explored and will continue to explore the most efficient operating structure for the hospital system.
However, the GHS board should be reminded that they were created by Act 432 of 1947 “for the purpose of operating and at all times maintaining adequate hospital facilities for the residents of Greenville County, including those residents in the City of Greenville.” To be succinct, GHS is a public hospital system which means its assets belong to the public. They are not non-profit or for-profit. GHS has trustees, not directors.
Act 432 established the board of trustees, defined the duties of the board and gave the Greenville County Legislative Delegation authority to appoint future board members. The act granted broad authority to the GHS board over the operational and fiscal affairs of the hospital system. Though amended by us as necessary since 1947 to accommodate the changing needs of Greenville County, Act 432 remains in effect today.
Act 432 does not give the GHS board authority to change its purpose or transfer any board duty or asset defined in the act to another legal entity. The operation of Greenville Health System must remain the responsibility of the Greenville Health System Board of Trustees.
GHS status as a public hospital has proven very successful in the past. I believe strongly that the citizens of Greenville County expect it to remain so for the future.