I-70 Medical Center sold to HMC/CAH
An I-70 Medical Center official has confirmed that the Sweet Springs hospital has been sold to Hospital Management Consulting.
James Noble, medical lab director, said in a news release that Thursday, July 31, "a clear agreement was reached with HMC/CAH and we are now legally allowed to speak freely about this issue."
The impending sale was initially reported by a Sweet Springs newspaper after hospital board member Dean Dohrman of LaMonte informed the LaMonte City Council about the board's decision.
In what Noble said would be the first of a series of news releases addressing the issue, he said the sale process now moves into the "due diligence" stage that will include a review by the state attorney general.
"The I-70 Medical Center Hospital board on Thursday, July 31st, after reviewing several options, voted to approve the Asset Purchase Agreement with HMC/CAH Consolidated to purchase and further enhance the healthcare services of the hospital," Noble said in the news release.
"The sole purpose of this decision is to give the hospital the best opportunity for success in achieving the goals of our communities," Noble said. "This change will provide us with the necessary investment capital to grow and expand our services. Among the several options reviewed by the board, their decision came down to the only proposal that brought capital to the table. Their decision will bring significant additional investments into our communities' infrastructures."
CEO Ron Baker said the sale "provides an influx in capital" and will "expand our services pretty dramatically in the community." He added that this would be a "great investment for the community."
Noble said the community and the board have wrestled with a number of challenges during the life of the hospital project, but throughout that process "our goals have always been clear. We will provide a full range of health care services to our communities now and for years to come."
The hospital opened in November 2005.
Noble listed several aspects of the decision that were considered by members of the hospital board, including
--Capital needs: An infusion of capital will allow development of new clinics in Sweet Springs, Concordia and Alma plus additional equipment for the hospital.
--Local ownership: There will always be a local advisory board to help assure the hospital continues to meet the needs and desires of the community.
--Community based service: "This is the heart of the Critical Access Hospital concept. The hospital board took action that will allow us to increase our community based services."
--Community based clinics: New facilities in Sweet Springs, Concordia and Alma. Noble said an attempt to place a clinic in LaMonte a year ago failed, and the board decided to refocus efforts on the other three communities.
--Forward thinking: Infrastructure developed by Sweet Springs to support the hospital also opens the door for additional development north of the interstate. Noble noted that with the sale, the hospital "will become a new taxpaying entity, and pay property and sales taxes into city coffers." Additional development drawn to the area by the city infrastructure would also add to the city and county tax revenues, he said.
--Community support: "Many contributors have given money to bring a hospital to the community. Those donations were used to build and start the hospital," Noble said. "The objective of the Hospital Board members when voting for this change is to help assure that the hospital continues. We are all aware that without the community's generous donations the hospital would have never been a reality."
--Foundation Contribution: HMC/CAH Consolidated will work with the Hospital Board to establish a local foundation for health education scholarships and will contribute $250,000 to help start the endowment.
"Our hospital is at a critical crossroads," Noble said. "(The board) has carefully considered several alternatives, and reached a majority decision to make this change. They truly believe that this is the very best pathway for our hospital to not only survive in our community, but to continue to offer state-of-the-art healthcare services in our communities."
Noble acknowledge that not everyone would agree with the board's decision, but he urged the whole community to come together.
"Of greater importance is the issue of how we proceed towards the future," he said. "We have brought the I-70 Medical Center from idea to reality through the efforts of our communities working together for a common goal. We will succeed only if we continue to work together and not against each other."
Baker said that he hopes to have the deal done in 30 days.