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      Possible partnership between Portage Health and LifePoint

      Portage Health has officially stated its intent to form a partnership with LifePoint Hospitals.

      LifePoint is a public organization that provides resources to hospitals for quality care and service to their communities.

      In the past, Portage Health stated in its strategic initiatives that its goal was to investigate the possibility of a partnership with a larger organization.

      After extensive research, LifePoint Hospitals expressed interest in pursuing a partnership with Portage to help the hospital in becoming an even better service provider for the community.

      The goal of remaining a quality care and service provider in a rapidly-changing health care landscape is what prompted Portage to seek the partnership.

      Portage Health officials said a decision to allow LifePoint to have 80 percent ownership is not because the hospital is in financial distress, but rather to stabilize the hospitalâ??s future with additional expertise.

      â??We think that we provide very excellent care here at Portage," said president and CEO of Portage Health, Jim Bogan. "Weâ??ve continued for many years to provide excellent care, but we just think that going forward proactively, weâ??re looking at it from the standpoint with the landscape changing, we want to retain that same level of excellence.â??

      The partnership would mean Portage and LifePoint each hold 50 percent governance over the hospital with community representatives on the Portage governing body throughout the decision-making process. This would give citizens long-term opportunities to be involved.

      The LifePoint organization owns over 50 hospitals around the country. A partnership between Portage Health and LifePoint would mean Portage would have the money to form a foundation to better support other organizations in the community.

      â??Those are dollars that are paid by LifePoint to us for them to have 80 percent of the ownership of the assets," Bogan explained. "They had to buy them from us. That will be the seat money of the foundation to go forward and do good things for the community, meeting crucial needs in the community, et cetera.â??

      Also because of the partnership, Portage would make the transition to being a for-profit organization, meaning they would become a taxable entity beginning in 2014.

      â??Between the taxes thatâ??ll be paid to help fund police and fire and medical care facility and county operations, it will also benefit with some of the foundation funds being returned back into the community," said Hancock city manager, Glenn Anderson. "So, again, it will be very positive from that aspect.â??

      Bogan said this state of intention to form the partnership is not binding; however, he said Portage plans to move forward through due diligence toward a more definitive agreement.