HCA deal approved by hospital board

INVERNESS -- The Citrus County Hospital Board of Trustees (CCHB) today announced that the long-time hospital transaction is closer to coming to closure, to the benefit of the community and taxpayers.  

The CCHB on Friday voted to execute the master agreement and lease agreement to transfer operations of the Citrus Memorial Hospital to the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA).  

The CCHB said that it now urges the Citrus Memorial Health Foundation (Foundation) to also vote in favor of executing the master agreement, as well as the global agreement for oversight of taxpayer dollars.
“Today, after several months of due diligence by HCA and negotiations among all the parties, the CCHB voted to execute the master agreement and lease agreement to transfer operations of the Citrus Memorial Hospital to HCA,” said Trey Crabb, Ziegler managing director and transaction consultant.  

“Once the Foundation joins the CCHB in this decision, the transaction will now proceed into various state and federal authority reviews and is expected to close on Oct. 31.  This historic arrangement will provide health care for Citrus County and surrounding communities for many years to come.”

Based on the pending lease of the Citrus Memorial Hospital to HCA, the CCHB today also voted to reduce the millage rate to zero from the original rate of 1.250 mills.  The final tax hearing is scheduled for September 2014.
“The CCHB has listened and considered our community's concerns about the future of the Citrus Memorial Hospital,” said CCHB Chairwoman Debbie Ressler, BSN.  “Today, the CCHB agreed to terms with HCA and is moving closer to ensuring quality health care, while bringing more than $45 million worth of capital expenditure improvements to the facility.  Additionally, we are happy to report that the board voted that we will not need to raise taxes, making it the first time in history of the hospital board taxing authority that the millage was set at zero.”

The CCHB also listed what it said are the benefits of Leasing to HCA:

• Creation of a charitable trust to be used for health care initiatives
• 100 percent of the net proceeds from the lease will benefit residents of Citrus County
• Hospital bonds will be funded
• Pensions will be secured
• HCA will pay approximately $2 million in property taxes to our community
The CCHB invites the public to continue to stay informed of this process by visiting Careforcitruscounty.org and following @CareforCitrus.