Dignity Health breaks off negotiations with Ashland Community Hospital

Dignity Health has ended its negotiations with Ashland Community Hospital, ACH officials announced today.

"The ACH Board is reviewing all of its options and will continue to work diligently to find a solution that has the best interests of our hospital, patients, employees and community at heart," Douglas Gentry, chairman of the hospital board, said in a news release.

A six-month exclusive negotiation period between ACH and the San Francisco-based healthcare network began in April. ACH officials had said such a partnership would guarantee a stable financial future for the hospital, which has reported losses in recent years. Unreimbursed costs associated with treating Medicare and Medicaid patients, other unpaid medical bills and charity care contributed to a $2.5 million loss last fiscal year and a $1.5 million loss in 2008-2009.

ACH is now free to reconsider other potential partners, the release said. The other finalists in initial negotiations included Asante Health System, which runs Rogue Valley Medical Center in Medford; Providence Health & Services of Seattle, which operates Providence Medford Medical Center; and Capella Healthcare of Franklin, Tenn.

Both Ashland Community Hospital and Dignity Health are still bound by the confidentiality agreement signed during the negotiation period, the release said.

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