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CAMC to borrow $50M for projects

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston Area Medical Center officials are taking steps to borrow money for several of the hospital's upcoming projects.

CAMC's board on Wednesday approved a resolution to seek requests for proposals from local and national banks to borrow up to $50 million.

"Now's the time to find the funding to do the projects that we've been working on for a number of years," said Larry Hudson, hospital chief financial officer.

That includes the cancer center, the surgery center and other items, he said.

"It's a good time to get everything arranged and set for next year," he said.

The five projects include a $40 million cancer center, which the hospital also is raising funds for, the addition of 48 acute-care beds at CAMC Memorial, energy upgrades at CAMC General, a four-suite addition to the Ambulatory Surgery Center at General and upgrades to existing physician spaces at Memorial and General.

The hospital so far has certificates of need for the cancer center, the additional rooms at Memorial and for the addition to the ambulatory surgery center, Hudson said.

Certificates of need give approval to new health-care facilities and are intended to make sure their construction makes economic sense and is not duplicating services.  

Hospital officials will first attempt to attain private financing for the projects.

"We need to make sure the banks have the capacity and the desire to supply the loan," Hudson said. "If not then we'll have to go back to what's called public financing, where you issue bonds."

Private financing is easier, quicker and less costly, he said.

"If you go the public route then you have investment bankers involved with all their fees and expenses," Hudson said. "And you have other costs associated with the public finance that you don't have with the private finance."

Hudson hopes to have bank proposals for review by next month's executive board meeting.

"The way things work and this being the holiday season, it will probably be January but we're trying to get it done as quickly as we can," Hudson said.

The board also approved a resolution to extend the debt it acquired when it purchased the former Putnam General Hospital, now CAMC Teays Valley Hospital. The $23.5 million was to be paid down next year, but hospital officials extended the debt five years, to 2018, Hudson said.

"It's just a routine transaction," Hudson said. 

Reach Lori Kersey at lori.kersey@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.


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