With three statewide tax-slashing ballot initiatives ruling headlines in November, 2010, the Montrose Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees proposed moving the hospital into the nonprofit realm, citing a fear of higher taxes as the result of the pending ballot initiatives. The ballot initiatives ultimately failed in the November election, but the MMH board of trustees decided that moving control of the hospital to a nonprofit board was still the best possible action for the hospital’s future.
But the Montrose County Board of Commissioners, objecting from the start to losing control of the hospital, sued to stop the switch.
Steve Glasmann, chair of the hospital board, said in a statement that turning over the hospital to a nonprofit, instead of keeping it under the auspices of the county commissioners, would be the best thing for the community.
“Under the new governance, the hospital will continue to provide the highest quality patient care to our community,” he said. “MMH will remain a community asset; decisions will continue to be made by a local board of directors and profits will be reinvested in the hospital and its services.”
The battle over the hospital sparked a recall effort of all three Montrose commissioners, but that effort ultimately failed.
In July District Judge Jeff Herron ruled that the hospital board was within its rights to lease the hospital to a non-profit. Two of the three county commissioners voted to pursue an appeal, with Commissioner Gary Ellis voting to abide by the judge’s decision.
As for the hospital, the board signed a deal in November to lease the hospital to a new nonprofit group, Montrose Memorial Hospital, Inc., despite the appeal.
Commissioner Ron Henderson all but accused the board of trustees of stealing the hospital.
“It’s a sad day for the community,” he said. “I wouldn’t have done what they did…for all the money in the world, but the board of trustees did it for $100 million,” the estimated value of the hospital. In the meantime, commissioners Henderson and David White have announced their bids for reelection. Commissioner Ellis has three years left in his term.