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Duke is Favored to Take Over Durham Regional

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DURHAM — The ownership fight over Durham Regional Hospital is almost over. Duke Medical Center is one of the favorites, but not the only one in the running. In fact, the prospect of Duke taking over is getting mixed reaction from people who use the hospitals.

The Durham Chamber of Commerce, doctors at Durham Regional and the Durham Regional Board of Trustees all favor Duke, the only not-for-profit bidder still in the race. But county officials say along with Duke, they're still taking a serious look at California's Tenet Healthcare and Florida's HMA.

Officials say they don't want quality health care to get lost in the debate. It's been a long and complicated battle over who will lease Durham Regional from the county, difficult even for those who have to make the decision. Durham County Commissioner Becky Heron says there's a lot of information to sort through yet.

Sandra Gooch's mother is having hip replacement surgery at Durham Regional. She says prefers the hometown bid over the out-of-towners.

Financial problems forced the county to put Durham Regional up for lease before it became too much of a tax burden. The hospital board says the lease deal won't be a burden on patients.

Trustees Chairman George Quick says the lease deal won't be a burden on patients.

The Durham County Manager will recommend one of the three bids Monday. County Commissioners will then take a vote. The commissioners and the Durham Regional Board of Trustees all have to agree on the choice.

Hospital staff say they worry about a for-profit company coming in and cutting jobs and other expenses. Those who support the for-profit companies express concerns about Duke having a monopoly in Durham County.


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