ACH, Asante reach deal on management

Ashland Community Hospital announced Thursday that it has reached an agreement with Medford-based Asante Health System to manage the smaller hospital and that ACH's chief executive will leave the organization on May 1.

In a press release, ACH said the management agreement with Asante would be effective Monday. As part of that agreement, the release said, Asante will fully manage the operations of ACH, including providing an onsite administrator who will replace current CEO Mark Marchetti.

Marvin Haas, who has served as chief administrative and finance officer at Asante for the past 13 years, will assume the role of interim CEO at ACH.

The shift in management comes as the two health care organizations continue negotiations on a deal that would turn over control of the Ashland hospital to Asante. That agreement, unlike the management agreement, must be approved by the Ashland City Council, as the city owns the hospital property and facilities. The council already has approved a letter of intent outlining the agreement.

The press release said Haas will work with the ACH board "to oversee ACH's transition into Asante" as negotiations continue.

Haas joined Asante in 2000 from his previous position as vice president of managed care and contracts for Samaritan Health Services in Corvallis. He was also previously a senior auditor for Arthur Andersen in Portland and prior to that was a registered nurse for more than eight years.

Marchetti, who has been CEO at the Ashland hospital since 2004, will continue to serve as CEO in a consulting capacity before his departure on May 1. He was credited in the press release with overseeing the construction of the hospital's outpatient and surgery center, its development of new services in hospice and palliative care, comprehensive wound care, the hospitalist program and charity care program, as well as growth in a home health program. He worked to open the Center for Internal Medicine and Center for Family Medicine in Ashland and Talent.

Dr. Doug Diehl, chairman-elect of the ACH board, said in the press release, "We thank Mark for his passion and dedication to ACH for almost nine years. During his time here, our hospital has evolved and grown to meet the healthcare needs of our community."

In the letter of intent between Asante and ACH, Asante said it would make $10 million in capital improvements at ACH and would attempt to retain as many of the current employees as possible.

With 400 employees and a $25 million annual payroll, the hospital is Ashland's third largest employer and provides the highest average wage, according to a fact sheet created by the hospital in late 2012.

ACH has been pursuing a merger because of financial difficulties. It lost $2.5 million last fiscal year, attributing that primarily to inadequate Medicare reimbursements.

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