Community Medical Center Announces New Partnership - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Community Medical Center Announces New Partnership

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MISSOULA -

After weeks of speculations, finally some answers about the future of Community Medical Center in Missoula.

On Friday we learned CMC plans to partner with Billings Clinic. Steve Carlson Community's CEO and President said the board voted on the final two candidates Thursday night and Billings Clinic came out on top.

They're calling this a "purchase of assets" which means Billings Clinic is essentially buying CMC, but leaders of both groups made it quite clear they're teaming up in an attempt to share resources. While they have not worked out the details of the partnership yet, they do know that if it goes through CMC will go from a not-for-profit facility to a for-profit hospital.

Carlson said patients will not be affected.

"I'm not sure they will notice," he said. "And if they do, what they'll notice is improved care."

He said the partnership agreement includes multi-year commitments to continue CMC's charity, care services and medial education programs.

Carlson says the process could take up to six months and is contingent upon approval from Attorney General Tim Fox.

Jobs:

Carlson said they have no plans to cut jobs, and in fact they hope to add jobs down the road. But, in the same breath he repeatedly talked about the need to create efficiency.

Transparency:

Many people have expressed concern that this decision was made behind closed doors and without input from the community. Carlson said this is because the board was counseled that to get the highest quality partners they would need to sign confidentiality agreements.

He said public comment will be a large part of the six-month process the hospital will take before the deal is finalized.

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