Anyone opposing, supporting or just curious about the pending sale of Missoula’s Community Hospital will have a chance to weigh in next week.
Billings Clinic and RegionalCare Hospital Partners are buying the non-profit Medical Center for over $67 million; that’s if the deal is approved by Montana Attorney General Tim Fox. Spokesman John Barnes says the AG's office isn't legally required to hold public forums on the proposed sale.
"However, we decided very early on that it was very important to get public input on this," says Barnes. "So, we've done a number of things: we have put up a website where people can come in and give us their comments and a lot of people have done that. They can send those comments in writing and we knew that we'd probably be holding a public forum which has been scheduled for next Wednesday at 5:30 in Missoula."
Barnes says the Attorney General can only consider a limited set of elements surrounding the sale of non-profits. For instance, he says Fox must be assured Community's board of directors is acting prudently and in the best interest of the hospital.
"That includes major fiduciary obligations," says Barnes. "Also in this transaction, that includes any conflicts of interest at a number of levels, that's something we'll be looking at. We'll be looking at the sale price to make sure it falls within the range of fair market value. Also, the non-profit charitable assets there must be a plan for how those assets are allocated."
Next week's public forum on the proposed sale of Missoula's Community hospital starts at 5:30 pm, Wednesday, November 19th at the Hellgate High School auditorium. Former Montana Supreme Court Justice William Leaphart will moderate.