Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Yampa Valley Medical Center has backed out of a plan to purchase and operate The Haven Senior Assisted Living Center in Hayden, hospital officials announced Wednesday.
Medical center Chief Executive Officer Karl Gills notified Mark Fischer of the decision Friday. Fischer is president of the West Routt Rural Health Council, the organization that built, owns and operates The Haven,
No contracts were signed when the hospital indicated its willingness to purchase the assisted living center in December, but rather a handshake between Fischer and Gills and a letter of purchase intent were exchanged.
A letter anticipated a closing date of Jan. 30, pending a "due diligence" study of The Haven's assets and operation. That study changed hospital officials' decision to buy the center.
"We found that if we were to bring The Haven into our organization, we would take on several inherent new costs," Gills said. An example of added costs would be providing additional employee benefits, Gills said.
"Anytime there is a smaller organization like The Haven, they are more likely to be able to work at a lower cost than when you get to a larger organization," Gills said.
Gills said the decision was not a reflection on the programs and services provided by The Haven staff or its board.
Fischer said the decision would not affect employees or residents of The Haven, which has "a good resident count and money in the bank."
"We didn't need to sell it," Fischer said. "We just thought it would be a real strong match.
"The medical center is a little bit more disappointed about this than we are. They really wanted the continuum of health care, but they just couldn't make the numbers work for them."
YVMC Board of Trustees Chairman Bob Maddox said he regrets backing out of the deal.
"When The Haven board first approached us, asking that we consider taking on the operation, we felt it would be an additional component of our continuum of care," Maddox said in a prepared statement. "With the information available to us initially, it seemed feasible."
Gills also said he thought The Haven would be a good fit within YVMC's spectrum of health care services, but YVMC must seek "a balance between expanding services and maintaining the vitally important programs already in place."
"We concluded that we did not want to take the chance of putting any of our other health care services at risk by extending our resources to purchase and run the assisted living center," Gills said.
The Haven Director Lucy Rickman could not be reached.
"We do see part of our role in the region to look at other elements to help health care needs," Gills said. "We were all very enthusiastic about the opportunity (to acquire The Haven) when it came to us, and we are disappointed that it didn't work out."
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