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CHS responds to commissioners’ request

November 19, 2016

La PORTE — After the La Porte County Board of Commissioners called for more transparency in regard to the joint venture between La Porte Hospital and Community Health Systems, the latter company said information will be made available regarding a planned replacement hospital.

Rebecca Ayers, director of communications and public relations for CHS Inc., said the company has made a $140 million investment in projects relating to La Porte and Starke hospitals.

“Site selection for the replacement hospital is in the final phase, and the hospital will announce the location as soon as it is determined," she said in an email. "We look forward to working together with local elected officials and community leaders to improve the health of residents in La Porte and Starke counties.”

She declined to make a statement when asked about the commissioners’ request for more information about the details of the joint venture agreement with IU Health and La Porte Hospital.

At the Wednesday meeting, the commissioners unanimously passed a resolution calling for more transparency because the hospital is of great concern to the La Porte community. The resolution noted La Porte Hospital importance in providing health care, being one of the county’s top employers and influencing economic development.

However, the commissioners asked to know more about plans for services and staffing at the replacement hospital and the timeline of the project.

They also called for information about what possibility the agreement leaves for IU Health or La Porte Hospital to regain interests in the hospital and return it to a non-profit status.

The resolution cited an Oct. 27 article in Modern Healthcare, which reported CHS Inc., across its 159 hospitals, had an $83 million operating loss in the third quarter and is $15 billion in debt. The company was planning to sell four hospitals to acquire money to pay off some debt, the article reported.

CHS Inc., through a subsidiary, took an 80 percent ownership in La Porte Hospital as of March 1, according to a news release on the website of IU Health.