Berger Health System in Ohio seeks nonprofit status

Circleville, Ohio-based Berger Health System looks to move away from municipal ownership and become a nonprofit, reports The Columbus Dispatch.

Here are five things to know.

1. At present, the city of Circleville and the Pickaway County Board of Commissioners jointly own BHS.

2. Although the city and county own BHS and appoint members to the board, they do not provide tax money to the hospital or weigh in on the organization's daily operations, according to the report. But, the report notes, the city and county remain liable if BHS could not repay debt or pay for operations.

3. In seeking nonprofit status, the hospital aims to eliminate the city and county's liability and also improve the hospital's ability to continue to deliver quality healthcare in the long term, County Commissioner Brian Stewart said in the report.

"Berger Hospital is healthy. They are not losing money. But we also see that all the competitors around us are increasingly trying to poach the market," he added. "In today's healthcare landscape, being one of the last two independent, publicly-owned hospitals doesn't make sense."

4. If BHS obtains nonprofit status, it will begin negotiations for a "deeper affiliation" with Columbus-based OhioHealth system, the hospital said in the report.

5. But the hospital requires approval from city voters before it can alter its operating structure, the report notes. The hospital told The Columbus Dispatch voters could decide on the issue this November if it is put on the ballot.


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