The Toole County Commissioners Request for Proposal (RFP) to purchase Marias Medical Center, Marias Care Center, Heritage Center and Brittan House, received two offers. Kalispell Regional Health-care and Benefis Health System of Great Falls both submitted proposals. After reviewing the proposals and receiving public comment over the past couple of weeks, the Commissioners met on Thursday morning, June 11, to make a decision.
The meeting was held outside the Courthouse to accommodate the 20 or so people in attendance. The meeting opened with comments being allowed in regards to the proposals from those in attendance.
“I think Kalispell is the best option, they will keep things in our community and serve us better than Benefis,” said Dr. Lance Stewart. “With Benefis I think we will just be traveling 80 miles.”
“The entire med staff feels Kalispell would be better,” said Dr. Justin Hooker. “We saw during COVID they better served the community, built us up instead of just wanting to have patients go to Great Falls.”
Commissioner Don Hartwell then made the motion to accept the bid from Kalispell Regional Healthcare with Commissioner Mary Ann Harwood seconding the motion.
“It only takes two to approve something,” said Harwood. “Joe Pehan is not here today due to medical reasons, but did submit a sealed envelope with his vote.”
Upon opening the envelope it was known that Pehan also voted in favor of Kalispell.
“This is much better for the community,” said Harwood before adjourning the meeting. “Kalispell is a better fit, they are community-minded and have been long-term, already helping for years. Several public comments were received and all were in favor of Kalispell.”
Kalispell’s proposal involves purchasing all the facilities- MMC, Marias Care Center, the Brittan House and the Heritage Center, establishing a new 501(c) (3) (Critical Access Hospital Newco) to acquire the assets of Marias Medical Center with Newco assuming any debt associated with the Series 2016 Revenue Bonds and defease bonds, which are anticipated to have a principal balance of $1.515 million as of June 30, 2020.
Newco will assume notes payable and capital leases for $1.05 million, transfer MRI to the Newco balance sheet for $1.2 million, upgrade CAH to Kalispell Regional Health’s Meditch Instance for $1.012 million and are committed to an additional capital of $1.5 million over five years related to infrastructure improvements and an estimated $1.4 million to provide sufficient working capital to operate the facilities. All current employees will maintain their employment status upon meeting the standard hiring protocol of Kalispell Regional Healthcare.