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ACH to present its new merger plan to council

Deal is with Asante; electric rate increase also is on the agenda
 Posted: 2:00 AM November 19, 2012

The Ashland City Council will hear a presentation from the Ashland Community Hospital Board of Directors about a proposed merger between the hospital and Medford-based Asante.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20, in the Ashland Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main St.

Councilors are expected to ask questions about the merger but won't take public comments.

A proposed merger between the hospital and San Francisco-based Dignity Health fell through after Dignity Health pulled out of negotiations in October.

Local residents had raised concerns about Dignity Health's restrictions regarding abortion and Oregon's Death With Dignity law.

Dignity Health previously was affiliated with the Catholic Church.

Abortion and physician-assisted suicide are not at issue with Asante, according to Ashland Community Hospital board Chairman Doug Gentry.

Any merger between the hospital and Asante would require the approval of the council.

In past decades, the hospital was a department of the city, but it was spun off as an independent entity. The city retains ownership of the hospital property, buildings, improvements and fixed equipment.

In other business on Tuesday, the council will hold a public hearing about a proposed 5.3 percent electric rate increase that would cost the average residential user $3.45 more per month. A smaller 2.6 percent increase would cost $1.71 more each month.

The council also is scheduled to discuss the process for appointing a replacement for Councilor David Chapman, who resigned in October.

The council could hold a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 3, to interview the seven applicants for the position and then vote to pick a replacement.

The applicants, who have extensive government and community experience, are Pam Marsh, Tom Giordano, Lynn Thompson, Keith Haxton, Colin Swales, Eric Heesacker and Kevin Bernadt.

The new councilor will serve through December 2014.

For a complete list of agenda items and details on each item, see

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or

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