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CO nonprofit's planned sale of share in hospitals to HCA raises doubts

The Denver Post, July 21, 2011

The Colorado Health Foundation has no guarantee that medical giant HCA will keep open all of its hospitals after the foundation's $1.45 billion sale of its share of their joint venture, and the board is still bargaining for assurances that HCA will continue Medicaid care in the state's largest hospital system, documents show. Papers obtained by The Denver Post in an open-records request also show the foundation board questioned whether HCA managers would have new profit incentives and cost pressures after the Nashville, TN-based hospital chain became publicly held again in March. Critics of the sale have said the nonprofit foundation's 50% control of the Denver hospital group keeps HCA profit motives in check at Swedish, Rose, Presbyterian/St. Luke's, Sky Ridge and other facilities, and that the foundation should not sell under current terms. "The community deserves more assurances," said Dick Anderson, a former chair of the joint-venture board.