Hospital CEO Steps Down

Mike Williams

Mike Williams

WINNSBORO – Fairfield Memorial Hospital, which is in the midst of merger negotiations with a larger, undisclosed Richland County hospital, will now also be in search of a new Chief Executive Officer. Mike Williams confirmed last week that he is stepping down as CEO, a position he has held for the last seven and a half years. Williams’ retirement is effective as of Aug. 31.

“We wish him well in his retirement,” hospital board member Boyd Brown said. “The board will now put together a search committee and find a new CEO by Sept. 1.”

Williams, who has been with Fairfield Memorial for 32 years, would not comment further on his retirement, but instead scheduled a face-to-face interview with The Voice for Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday morning, however, Williams’ office canceled that interview. Efforts to reach John McGraw, Chairman of the hospital board of directors, were also unsuccessful at press time.

Fairfield Memorial has been in dire financial straits for at least the last three years and has been courting a larger Richland County facility for the last year. Following a joint meeting with County Council on Jan. 29, Williams told The Voice that while the negotiations with the facility were promising, time was of the essence.

“It’s looking good,” Williams said after the meeting. “If something is going to happen it’s going to have to happen before June 15.”

June 15 is the deadline for the hospital to utilize $15 million from the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services for assistance in the merger, Williams said.

Last May, County Council offered a letter of support for the hospital in its efforts to court a partner, and in March of 2014 the County issued a $500,000 emergency loan to Fairfield Memorial just so the hospital could meet its payroll. As of at least last December, the hospital remained delinquent on its contributions to the S.C. Retirement System. The Board voted in October to pay the employee portion into the system on a monthly basis and to develop a plan to bring the employer portion up to date and keep it current.

While the hospital has struggled financially in recent years, prompting the need for a merger, Tim Mitchell, the hospital’s Chief Financial Officer, said after the Jan. 29 meeting that Fairfield Memorial was actually projecting a profit for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2015.

“At the end of the first quarter of this fiscal year we had a small loss of $215,000,” Mitchell said, “but last year (it) was a $727,000 loss for the three months a year ago. From (2013) to (2014) we’ve cut the loss from $1.1 (million) to $356,000.”


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