About Chelyen Davis:
Chelyen Davis is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star
Rankin: Change to hospital’s structure not a pre-sale strategy
Mary Washington Hospital officials say that they have no plans to sell the hospital to one of the big hospital chains, and that the recent proposal to alter the way the hospital is governed doesn’t change that.
Mary Washington has been a community-based, community-controlled hospital for more than 110 years, said Fred Rankin, president and chief executive. “And we want it to always continue to be,” he said.
Until recently, Fredericksburg was an island in the changing sea of hospital ownership. For more than 100 years, the region had only one hospital, Mary Washington, and was surrounded by hospitals like Mary Washington: small independents.
But that changed when HCA, the nation’s largest hospital chain, arrived in Spotsylvania. In addition, the Sentara chain out of Norfolk has purchased Potomac Hospital in Woodbridge, Novant Health of North Carolina has purchased Prince William Hospital in Manassas, and the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville has acquired Culpeper Regional.
Mary Washington’s board of trustees has no plans to sell, Rankin said this week, but it has the legal authority to do so if it wants to. If that happened, the state would get involved and a public hearing would be held. If approved, any hospital assets that remained after the debts are paid would stay in the community in the control of some sort of charitable foundation.
But the proposal to do away with the hospital’s voting membership doesn’t affect that process, Rankin said.
“It’s immaterial,” he said. “That’s not the reason we’re doing this.”
(A story on the hospital’s proposal is in today’s paper and can be found here.)