Orangeburg County Council gave unanimous first reading approval to an ordinance that paves the way for a partnership between the Regional Medical Center and the Medical University of South Carolina.

“We feel that the Regional Medical Center, in partnering with the Medical University of South Carolina, will bring advantages to not only the hospital but to the citizens as well by collaborating with one of the state’s leading medical hospitals that is a teaching hospital to provide access to additional doctors as well as provide better services to the community through the affiliation with the Medical University of South Carolina,” Orangeburg County Administrator Harold Young said prior to council’s vote Tuesday.

There was no public discussion among council members prior to the vote. The ordinance requires two more votes.

The Regional Medical Center is owned by Orangeburg and Calhoun counties. Any change needs to be approved by both county councils.

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Under the ordinance, the current 17-member Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees will be dissolved on Oct. 1 and a new 11-member board will be appointed.

Initial appointments to the new board could include active members of the RMC/MUSC workgroup, which does include some RMC trustees. Otherwise, the other members currently serving on the RMC board would no longer be on the board.

The ordinance also establishes a new, 18-member Constituency Advisory Board tasked with providing the new hospital board with policy recommendations “based on the identified health care needs of the area served by the hospital and the entities that interact with the hospital.”

The ordinance also changes the name of the hospital from the Regional Medical Center of Orangeburg and Calhoun Counties to MUSC Health Orangeburg and Calhoun Counties.

A working group is tasked with helping implement the partnership, which is set to take effect on Oct. 1.

Highlights of the RMC-MUSC partnership that’s being discussed include:

• MUSC would enter into a 99-year lease with RMC.

• MUSC would commit to a multi-year investment in RMC.

• The Medical University Hospital Authority Board, the governing body of MUSC, would oversee RMC’s finances.

• The RMC board would be responsible for quality oversight, medical staff accreditation and community engagement.

• All employees at RMC would be retained.

• All employee physician contracts would remain the same as long as they are within fair market range.

• RMC employees would become employees of the Medical University Hospital Authority/Medical University of South Carolina.

• Contract providers that currently provide services to RMC will most likely remain the same unless their contracts expire and the hospital renews them.

There will be a public meeting about the RMC and MUSC partnership on Thursday, Sept. 8 at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College’s Roquemore Auditorium. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.

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