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Rural SC hospital lays off 1/3 of its employees

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A hospital in rural South Carolina has laid off one-third of its employees after an effort to consolidate three small hospitals in the region collapsed.

The State newspaper of Columbia reports Saturday that Bamberg County Hospital laid off 35 of its 98 employees this week.

The Bamberg hospital filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in June, after reporting net losses of $2.4 million over nine months.

Officials had been working to merge struggling county hospitals in Bamberg, Barnwell and Allendale counties. New York-based Health Care Management Partners was hired to manage the process. But Allendale County Council voted July 13 to pull its hospital out.

Bamberg officials met behind closed doors Thursday before declaring the regional effort dead. The management company is working to keep Bamberg's hospital operating.

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