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Hospital board OKs transfer of assets

To become St. Charles Madras in January

   In the end, the passing of the resolution to transfer Mountain View Hospital and its assets to St. Charles Health Systems was quietly concluded with a unanimous vote of the hospital board at the Nov. 27 meeting.
   Only six board members, several officials and staff members from Mountain View and St. Charles, legal counsel, and one member of the press were present for the decision, which had stirred controversy in the community since its possibility had been announced in July.
   "I personally am optimistic," said board member Jim Quaid, noting that was unusual for him to say. "I think this will be a great benefit to the people of Jefferson County. It will expand health care."
   Jeanie Gentry, Mountain View Hospital CEO, who is employed by St. Charles, pointed out that the two hospitals already share patients. "It's a good thing to work with them."
   In the resolution, the board stated that it recognizes the importance of maintaining a viable hospital in the Jefferson County area, and "has determined that an affiliation with a larger health care system would provide greater ability to conduct hospital operations in the marketplace and maintain the level of service needed" in the community.
   After an evaluation of options, the board concluded that since the hospital has had a management relationship with St. Charles for the past 12 years -- and it is the only health system "focused entirely on the delivery of health care in Central Oregon" -- an affiliation with St. Charles would be desirable.
   Under terms of the agreement, Mountain View will turn over net assets of $9.7 million ($13.1 million minus $3.4 million debt) to St. Charles, which agrees to spend a minimum of $10 million on capital improvements at Mountain View.
   Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, Mountain View will become St. Charles Madras, but will continue to employ Mountain View's staff.
   "We have about 230 employees still," said Gentry. "Every person has been offered employment."
   Caregivers will go through a four-hour orientation and welcome at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend in December.
   The MVH Foundation, which has funded scholarships and hospice care for local residents, will continue to operate with the same board at its helm. "Some of the funds in the foundation will transfer to St. Charles Foundation because caregivers will become St. Charles employees."
   The hospital district board will continue to meet periodically to oversee the transition, with expenses estimated at $102,950 -- $40,000 for accounting expenses; $40,000 for an audit; $15,100 for insurance; $5,000 for office supplies; $1,750 for an election cost; $600 for a bank fee; and $500 for ads and printing.
   The district, which levies .25 cents per $1,000 in property taxes for its operations, is expected to dissolve sometime next year.
   "It's bittersweet having this transition," Gentry said to the board, after the vote. "I've been privileged to work with you."