Local News

Two Cumberland County Hospitals May be Merging

Posted December 13, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST

— The biggest hospital in Cumberland County may soon be getting bigger.

Talk around town is theCape Fear Valley Medical Centermay merge with the Columbia Highsmith-Rainey Hospital, leaving patients with only one option.

If Highsmith-Rainey is bought, it not yet known what will happen to the building or the 400 people that work there.

The 133 bed hospital is the only one in the state thatColumbia HCAowns. They have already sold six North Carolina hospitals in the past year.

Columbia HCA has said for months that they are going to sell Highsmith-Rainey.

Cape Fear Board of Trustee Mac Tyson says if the hospital is bought, the elimination of competition would not affect health care for Cumberland County residents.

"To say that one competes with the other is just simply to not recognize what is there. They have some services that overlap. But basically, there is a vast amount of difference inside the hospitals and what they offer," Tyson said.

There are some concerns about the cost of Highsmith-Rainey.

The price tag being throw out now is $37-$40 million.