Details still being worked out, officials say
Hospice of Union County will soon be part of Carolinas Healthcare System. The two groups announced the merger plans Monday, Jan. 24 in a press release. Union County’s only hospice organization will join the CHS Pallative Care and Hospice Network.
The move has been a long time coming, Hospice Executive Director Mike Linker said.
“We’ve had conversations over the past several years, working with each other at different times,” Linker said. “It just makes sense. With healthcare reform, possible changes in the market, this is a decision that will enable us to continue on.”
The group just recognized they were going to have to change in some way, in order to stay viable, Linker said. With that in mind, there wasn’t any rational reason to wait, when CHS made their offer, he added.
The organization was created in 1984, in the wake of a newspaper column written by Rev. Paul Beatty, who was at that time Minister of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Monroe. Later that year the program was incorporated as a nonprofit, with the Rev. Beatty as its first president. Two years later, the program would have its first patient, in March 1986. Now in addition to Monroe, the group has offices in Fairview and Waxhaw, as well as Anson County.
It’s unclear what impact the merger will have on the local operation, Linker said.
“At this stage, we don’t have details what that (impact) will be,” Linker said. “Obviously there will still be an operation here, but in terms of individual employees, we’re just not sure yet.”
Carolinas Healthcare System operates Carolinas Medical Center-Union and is in discussions with the county about opening a standalone emergency department in Waxhaw. Hospice of Union County has three residential treatment facilities, operating in Monroe.