Two community forums next week with representatives from Ashland Community Hospital and potential partner Dignity Health could be the public's last opportunity to inquire and provide input about a possible merger before the final phase of negotiations begins.
Both meetings will take place in the ACH cafeteria, 560 Catalina Drive, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, and 9 to 10:30 a.m Friday, Sept. 14, an ACH press release said.
"We know our hospital and staff will continue with the same philosophy of care, placing the highest concern on what our patients and their families need," Mark Marchetti, ACH chief executive officer, said in the release. "Information at these forums will help local residents understand how we will maintain independent local control for the hospital, while adding the support system of a large network."
A memorandum of understanding will have to be signed to formalize ACH's membership with Dignity Health.
If the process goes accordingly, a partnership will be formed by the beginning of October, said Janet Troy, ACH director of development.
Dignity Health, the nation's fifth largest hospital system, is based out of San Francisco and operates 40 hospitals and 150 care centers in California, Arizona and Nevada, employing about 65,000 people. If a partnership is formed with ACH, it will be the health care system's first affiliate in Oregon.
Because the hospital operates under a long-term lease with the city of Ashland, the City Council will have a say in approving whatever lease arrangement emerges out of an alliance.