Ashland Community Hospital would continue to operate as a general hospital for at least three years and receive $10 million in capital improvements under a tentative agreement with Asante Health System released today.

Ashland Community Hospital would continue to operate as a general hospital for at least three years and receive $10 million in capital improvements under a tentative agreement with Asante Health System released today.

In exchange, the city of Ashland would turn over its sole corporate membership in ACH and all real hospital property, according to a letter of intent posted on the city's website.

The hospital would be run by the Asante's board of directors and ACH's board would become a quality committee under the agreement.

If Asante fails to operate ACH as a general hospital in the first three years, the corporation would revert back to the city and Asante would pay $8 million to cover the outstanding balance on a construction loan.

Asante agrees to continue operating ACH as a general hospital for another 12 years or pay $4 million to the city, according to the letter. The corporation, however, would not revert back to the city.

ACH began looking for a partnership last year after suffering nearly $5 million in losses since 2008. In October, ACH Chief Executive Officer Mark Marchetti said the hospital could be closed in a year if it remained independent.

More details will be given in a story in tomorrow's newspaper.