MedWest-Haywood board change averts potential for tie votes ahead of controversial decision

The 10-person Haywood Regional Medical Center board will now include an 11th member.

The Haywood Board of Commissioners Monday approved a change to the hospital board’s bylaws to up the number of members and appointed Neil Budde to the 11th seat.


“We thought it would probably be in the best interest of the hospital board to at least have an odd number of members,” said Commissioner Kirk Kirkpatrick, who is also a member of the hospital board.

Kirkpatrick said that an uneven number is crucial when controversial votes are taken. An odd number ensures that there is not a tie.

The board is already faced with an important and future-defining decision. MedWest-Haywood is part of the three hospitals in the MedWest system, managed by Carolinas HealthCare in Charlotte.

However, poor bottom lines and perceived disparities have caused strife within the MedWest system, which also includes MedWest-Harris in Sylva and MedWest-Swain. And Westcare, the governing board for both Harris and Swain hospitals, has voted to dissolve the partnership with MedWest-Haywood. 

The board of MedWest-Haywood has not yet weighed in on whether it would agree to dissolve the partnership, however. A vote is anticipated sometime this year.

Budde applied to serve on the board in April but was not chosen during that round of appointments. However, with his hospital and Information Technology background, commissioners said they thought he was a good fit for the new seat.

Budde, a retired Waynesville resident, worked for 12 years directing data centers in hospitals and sold IT software for 10 years. He currently co-chairs the Haywood Christian Ministries’ annual golf tournament.

— By Caitlin Bowling

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