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      Community forum for Bell sale

      Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette's representatives held a community forum regarding the proposed sale of Bell Memorial hospital in Ishpeming to Lifepoint Health Systems. Both parties have agreed to the sale; now the Attorney General has to approve the sale, because Bell was a charitable non-profit hospital.

      Officials from Bell said this move eliminates the debt the hospital currently has and funds the employee pension plan. On Tuesday, the forum gave representatives from Bell and Lifepoint a chance to explain how they came to this point. It also gave the community a chance to share their concerns. This step is all part of the Attorney General's due diligence.

      "One of our number one goals is to make sure this is a fair deal for the people of the community," said Joy Yearout, Press Secretary for the Attorney General. "To determine that we've hired an independent expert who's reviewing the proposed transaction, they've reviewed the financials, they're determining the people are getting a fair deal; is this really the best outcome."

      Both Bell and Lifepoint are hoping for the sale to be complete by November 30 of this year. If you were unable to attend Tuesday's forum but wish to voice your opinion, the Attorney General's office is accepting comments until September 30. You can e-mail them at