VNA offers $1M for partial ownership of TMH campus
At a glance
• The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association proposes giving $1 million to Moffat County and The Memorial Hospital for an undivided interest in the current hospital campus.
• The only existing appraisal of the hospital facility was completed in January 2006, and states the VNA building was worth about $1.55 million.
• VNA officials said they are not overly concerned with how much ownership they would buy.
• VNA wants to have "site control" of its current facility, which will help it procure up to $3.5 million in grants, including the $1 million it would pay for partial ownership.
The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association made a tentative offer of $1 million to buy a portion of The Memorial Hospital's current campus during a workshop Monday evening at the Moffat County Courthouse.
The offer is contingent on the VNA receiving various grant funding, which will not be finalized until November.
The Moffat County Commission and VNA and hospital officials made a nonbinding agreement at the workshop to support the VNA's plan, in concept.
County and TMH officials have been searching for what to do with the building since TMH began construction of a new hospital last year.
However, the agreement does nothing other than allow the VNA to continue to seek grant funding from outside sources, which it hopes to use to acquire hospital property and renovate its existing facility.
According to the offer - proposed by Mary Brown, VNA board member, and Sue Birch, VNA chief executive director - the VNA would pay $1 million to the county and hospital for an undivided share of the entire hospital site.
The money would not purchase any specific buildings or space.
Funding for the payment potentially would come from a $1 million grant available through the Colorado Health Foundation.
Brown said the foundation's staff indicated it would support awarding the grant, though nothing will be final until its board meets Wednesday.
She added that the proposal seems one-sided at first glance - given the only appraisal for the hospital building was completed in January 2006, and the VNA building's value was put at $1.55 million, or 55 percent more than the VNA offered to pay.
However, Brown said it was the best option at this time, and possibly the only offer the VNA will be able to make.
"We are literally staring at the only option we can find for the VNA to bring any substantial money," she said.
The organization's position is partly affected by red tape surrounding the Health Foundation grant, a second prospective grant through the federal recovery package and city of Craig planning and zoning requirements.
The Health Foundation's approval likely will be contingent on the VNA receiving a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. government.
It must apply for the government's grant Aug. 6, and would know whether it's approved Nov. 1.
However, the VNA probably will need to either own or have "site control" of its facility to garner much attention from the government, Brown said.
The hospital also can't subdivide its property between TMH and the VNA, Brown added, because the city's planning and zoning process could take up to six weeks, making it impossible for the VNA to meet the government's August application deadline.
Thus, VNA officials proposed spending the $1 million from the Health Foundation on an undivided interest in the hospital campus.
"Whatever TMH feels is necessary as far as how to divide the ownership - two to one, 60/40, 50/50, whatever - that is not a big concern for VNA," Brown said. "This way, we're not trying to buy a $1.5 million property for $1 million. It only gives us the position we need to apply for these grants."
The VNA also cannot guarantee it will pay more money in the future, Birch said.
Any recovery dollars awarded to the VNA can't be used to purchase property because of federal stipulations.
Instead, the organization plans to spend the government's potential $2.5 million grant on adding a second story to its existing facility.
County and hospital officials expressed reservations about the deal because it is unclear what kind of ownership VNA would have of the hospital campus.
George Rohrich, TMH chief executive officer, said the hospital board may need to see an up-to-date appraisal on the building site before it could agree to what kind of ownership $1 million would buy.
However, he added that could take 40 days to complete, which wouldn't be soon enough for the VNA to apply for the federal grant by early August.
Commissioner Tom Mathers said he wants to see a quicker resolution.
"To me, that'd be fine to get an appraisal, if we had done it 8 months ago when we first started this," Mathers said. "Now, we're at the crunch time."
Hospital and VNA officials agreed to review a draft agreement outlining what a $1 million purchase would buy at their respective board meetings Wednesday night.
The commission plans to review the draft at its meeting Aug. 4, if the hospital board approves of the concept.
Birch said she hopes working through the agreement's finer details wouldn't scare anyone off.
"We're talking about $3.5 million we want to bring from outside, into this community," she said. "If we can't bring these dollars to this area, shame on us if we can't work out the details."
Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or firstname.lastname@example.org.