ASHLAND — With a proposed California merger off the table, Ashland’s cash-strapped community hospital is negotiating a deal with a Medford-based organization.
City Council members are considering a merger with the Asante system and expect to take public testimony later, the Ashland Daily Tidings reported.
Asante operates Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford and Three Rivers Medical Center in Grants Pass.
A merger would require council approval. Once a city department, the hospital was spun off as an independent entity, but the city still owns the real estate and fixed equipment.
A proposed merger between the hospital and San Francisco-based Dignity Health fell through after Ashland residents raised concerns about Dignity Health’s restrictions regarding abortion and Oregon’s assisted suicide law. Dignity, previously affiliated with the Catholic Church, pulled out of the negotiations.
Abortion and physician- assisted suicide are not at issue with Asante, said Doug Gentry, chairman of the Ashland Community Hospital board.
Gentry said a merger will stabilize the hospital. Back office positions may be eliminated because of duplication, but Asante is expected to increase the staff size overall, he said.
The Ashland hospital has operating rooms and a Center for Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Medicine that Asante needs, he said.