'We are independent, but we are not isolated': CEO says Idaho hospital not for sale

Kootenai Health in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, has squashed rumors that another entity is planning to buy the hospital, the Coeur d'Alene/Post Falls Press reported Nov. 16. 

There was speculation that Tacoma, Wash.-based MultiCare Health System, a partner of Kootenai Health, was interested in a takeover, but leadership from both organizations told The Press that this was not the case.

"We are independent, but we are not isolated," CEO Jon Ness told the publication. "We really are open to collaborate with many other organizations."

MultiCare worked with Kootenai Health on several initiatives, such as behavioral health and implementing Epic's EHR system, which replaced the hospital's 11 different EHR systems with a single system, according to the report. 

Speculation about a takeover arose as Kootenai's board weighs the pros and cons of transitioning from a public district hospital model to a nonprofit 501(c)3, according to the report. The Idaho Legislature voted almost unanimously to pass House Bill 603, which updates a statute to allow public district hospitals to transition to nonprofits. The bill went into effect July 1.

"Our board has an obligation to at least evaluate that," Mr. Ness told The Press. "It's being considered because it was never an option historically."

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