Moffat County approves VNA/TMH purchase |

Moffat County approves VNA/TMH purchase

Commission agrees to consider $500K discount

Collin Smith

The Moffat County Commission signed a letter Tuesday that potentially offers a $500,000 discount to the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association for its purchase of property at The Memorial Hospital’s current site.

The VNA offered $1 million to the county and hospital for an undivided share of the hospital campus at a workshop July 27.

The money comes from a Colorado Health Foundation grant awarded last week.

However, the Health Foundation grant is contingent on the VNA receiving a second grant for as much as $2.5 million in federal recovery funds from the Health Resources and Services Administration.

The VNA plans to use the second grant to build an additional story on top of the portion of the hospital it now uses, in part because the government won’t allow the money to be spent on purchasing property.

The federal grant won’t be finalized until November, but the VNA needs to show the government it has some form of ownership of its building to be eligible and submit an application by Thursday.

VNA officials said they were not overly concerned with how much of the building $1 million could buy. They only want partial ownership to pursue the federal dollars.

The VNA and hospital boards approved the concept of the VNA’s offer at their respective meetings last week.

By signing the letter, the commission threw Moffat County’s support behind VNA’s purchase proposal and its grant application to the federal government.

The only contentious piece was a portion of the letter that states the county is willing to discount its sale of an undefined amount of property interest by $500,000.

Sue Birch, VNA chief executive officer, said the money would be pledged as an in-kind donation and not be an actual financial contribution.

In the end, the commission agreed to the discount’s concept.

“We will try to keep the hospital as whole as possible, but if the VNA were to make an offer, then we would consider their community benefit as part of that,” Commissioner Tom Gray said.

However, he added that the letter states the county is willing to offer a discount, not that it will.

The county owns the hospital building, and has final say on all property decisions.

“The devil is in the details, as we’ve all said,” Gray said. “If at some point, that $500,000 becomes so onerous that it can’t be done, or for whatever reason is no longer possible, then it’s not guaranteed.”

Birch said she understood the county’s position and had no objection.

Gray and Commissioner Audrey Danner briefly discussed whether to take out the statement regarding the county’s potential discount, but Commissioner Tom Mathers argued to keep it in.

“I don’t have a problem with that at all,” Mathers said. “I really don’t. That shows buy-in. I don’t think this says anything we don’t need it to say.”

George Rohrich, TMH chief executive officer, said he couldn’t sign the letter because the hospital board did not discuss a specific sale discount. It also did not include any set financial amounts in its motion to support the concept of VNA’s proposal at its July 29 meeting.

Instead of signing the same letter as VNA and the county, Rohrich plans to draft a second support letter detailing the hospital board’s motion and its approval of the plan’s design.

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