A multimillion-dollar loss last fiscal year for Ashland Community Hospital wasn't unexpected and illustrates its board members' rationale for seeking an outside partnership, hospital officials say.

A multimillion-dollar loss last fiscal year for Ashland Community Hospital wasn't unexpected and illustrates its board members' rationale for seeking an outside partnership, hospital officials say.

Unreimbursed costs associated with treating Medicare and Medicaid patients, other unpaid medical bills, and charity care made up the bulk of the $2.5 million loss, said Janet Troy, the hospital's director of development.

During the 2010-2011 fiscal year, the hospital experienced a $500,000 shortfall, and absorbed $9.4 million in Medicare patient costs above what Medicare reimbursed, hospital officials said.

The hospital is currently negotiating a potential partnership with Dignity Health, the nation's fifth largest hospital system, based out of San Francisco.

— Sam Wheeler