Craig George Rohrich, The Memorial Hospital chief executive officer, proposed the idea to sell the TMH campus in its entirety to the VNA for $1 million at a hospital board meeting Aug. 26.
The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, which occupies part of the TMH campus, offered $1 million to purchase a portion of the current hospital site, which is owned by Moffat County.
Although the VNA had originally offered the $1 million for a joint ownership contract, Rohrich proposed TMH sell the entire campus for the same amount.
However, TMH would not turn over complete control of the site immediately. The hospital still would need to occupy the space for several years as a clinic and outpatient center.
Therefore, he suggested TMH be allowed to occupy part of the campus rent-free for five years and pay a portion of the utilities. TMH would retain the right to renegotiate a fair rent to stay in the building once the five years is up.
Although the offer has been made, it is unknown whether the VNA will have the funds to purchase any portion of the building.
The VNA's original offer is contingent on a federal grant of $2.5 million in recovery funds from the Health Resources and Services Administration.
While the VNA might have to wait until November for word on the grant, Rohrich said TMH should discuss a proposal they could bring to the VNA.
"While the VNA is waiting for the feds to act on their application, it would be good business to come up with a proposal everyone is comfortable with," Rohrich said during the meeting. "I recommend we take this opportunity to openly discuss our views and get them out into the public."
County Commissioner Tom Gray also was in attendance at the TMH board meeting.
He said that Rohrich's proposal offered new possibilities in the deal.
"I think it's cleaner, and everyone will know what to expect," Gray said. "But it has to be done in a way that everyone agrees. I think it has a lot of opportunities. The community wants to see progress, and the VNA and hospital do, too."
Since the TMH meeting, the VNA has been made aware of the new idea and is discussing it internally.
VNA public information coordinator, Suzi Mariano, said the VNA is in a difficult position because it is unable to make any formal offers before they receive the federal grant money.
"Even if the idea is out there, unfortunately the only opportunity we have is this federal funding," Mariano said. "We're not in a position to make any proposals right now."
All three entities - TMH, the VNA and the commission - have created a small workgroup of about nine people who have met during the past year.
Commissioner Audrey Danner said there will be another meeting within the next few weeks to discuss the new proposal.
"My opinion is that we keep talking to each other because we're all concerned with what the others do," she said. "This is an unusual situation for the county because we have a vested interest in both sides."
Gray said that while nothing is official yet, the continued discussion has put forth some ideas that have potential.
"I don't know details, and there's a few things that will have to be tied down," Gray said. "But I think the deal has possibilities."