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DailyTidings.com
  • Vital Signs for Asante

    Ashland hospital acquisition, federal health care act impact financial prognosis for Asante
  • Asante's proposed takeover of Ashland Community Hospital is as important to the Medford health care provider's future as it is to the much smaller institution's survival.
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  • Asante's proposed takeover of Ashland Community Hospital is as important to the Medford health care provider's future as it is to the much smaller institution's survival.
    In one fell swoop, Asante Health System would assure one less competitor in the Rogue Valley and increase its customer base in an age when health care organizations are feverishly looking for ways to expand — or face implosion beneath the weight of the new Affordable Care Act's demands.
    Asante wasn't ACH's first choice when the financially troubled hospital looked to sell itself.
    But when San Francisco Bay Area-based Dignity Health, the fifth-largest hospital system in the country, backed out of negotiations with ACH in October, Asante and its mounting reserves looked better and better to an organization that was hemorrhaging at a rate of $3.3 million last fiscal year. ACH and Asante entered negotiations in November and are expected to announce an agreement early this year.
    Asante produced $517 million in revenue during fiscal 2012 from its Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford, Three Rivers Medical Center in Grants Pass and a widespread group of allied operations. In the year ending Sept. 30, its net assets — what the entire operation was worth — grew nearly 24 percent, to $476.9 million.
    ACH, however, experienced declining revenue and dissipating reserves over the past few years, according to its financial filings. Mark Marchetti, ACH chief executive officer, has said the hospital could be closed in a year if it remains independent. Former ACH board Chairman Doug Diehl told the Ashland City Council on Oct. 16 that ACH had just four to six months' worth of operating cash.
    Asante's acquisition of ACH isn't so much about tidying up an unstable neighboring hospital as it is positioning Asante's future in a brave new world where the number of "covered lives" — patients — and tracking their individual health becomes paramount for every health care provider, thanks to the sweeping reforms under the Affordable Care Act.
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