Kootenai Health Becoming A 501c3?
Kootenai Health is considering changing from being a taxpayer funded District hospital to being a 501c3 hospital, which would make it private. My main issue with the change is the way in which it is being done.
Instead of asking the taxpayers of Kootenai County to vote to allow Kootenai Health to change to a 510c3, KH decided to be a part of getting Idaho statute changed so that a vote isn't needed anymore.
It may be a good thing for KH to change, but the way this is being done seems to be in a way to ensure the least amount of accountability to the taxpayers of Kootenai County.
Here is a link to the presentation put on the KH’s webpage: http://www.kh.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/Kootenai-Health_501c3-Conversion-White-Paper-Final-12.1.22-locked.pdf
My thoughts are as follows:
On page 3 the graphic shows from 2010 to 2022. Why? This entity has been around since 1966. Is this referring to page 4 titled - “Decade of Major Investments in Growth”? Kootenai Health can do major investments in growth due to being in an Urban Renewal District for the city of Coeur d’Alene. URD’s don’t get taxed like normal homes and businesses do.
Page 6 made me laugh. “Nimble governance structure”? Is KH admitting that they don’t like the taxpayers of Kootenai County voting on who is on the board of trustees? Or are they upset that “their” people actually had competition when running for a board of trustee position?
Also on page 6 - “KH is disadvantaged by public disclosure and open meeting requirements.” So it is bad to be transparent and accountable. Um no…
On page 7 they stated, “KH will be better positioned to develop new capabilities in partnership with healthcare organizations.” There has been a rumor for a few years that Multi-care wants to buy Kootenai Health. Does the transition to a 501c3 make it easier for Multi-care to buy KH?
A quote from page 8 - ““Enables governance continuity and longer-term strategic planning focus without the mitigations of a two-year election cycle.” Wait, you guys a publicly admitting that elections of trustees by the residents of Kootenai County are annoying? Once again they seem to be stating that it is bad to be accountable to the taxpayers of Kootenai County.
Further down page 8 they talk about having “…experienced, qualified individuals”, as Board of Trustee members. I am reading this as they want to determine who the experts are not the public. Why not have an average Joe on the trustee board? A voice from the community is not a bad thing.
These items are mentioned again on page 22.
On page 9 it states that if the transition takes place then the hospital won’t be able to use eminent domain. That is a good thing.
Page 10 states that current trustees will vote on electing new trustees. Did I read that right? That won’t go wrong. (Sarcasm intended.)
On page 11 stakeholder groups are mentioned. No mention of the taxpayers of Kootenai County being the biggest stakeholder group. The bondholders vote is more important than the residents of KC being able to vote on the hospital going private or not.
On page 15 it is mentioned that the transition will reduce the tax burden but doesn’t state how. Is the county and/or the taxpayers going to get any money out of this deal? It sure doesn’t seem like they will. Taking taxpayer owned assets and making them private doesn’t seem right. The county should get some money out of this transition for the decades of taxpayer money and decades of little to no property taxes paid by KH.
Page 16 talks about how going private will enable the hospital to have a higher degree of community representation. What is meant by that? In terms of the board of trustees or something else?
I had to laugh at page 18. Kootenai Health is claiming that the change in Idaho statute that took away the right for the taxpayers of Kootenai County to vote on a proposed transition is in the best interests of the taxpayers. I very much disagree.
On page 23 not being subject to public records requests is listed as a positive thing. Why?
Do you read page 24 like I do? I read it as minds being made up. This isn’t a proposal. This is what is going to happen without proper public notice and without the public being able to make public comment.
The taxing authority of the hospital district has been asked about and still no answer from the the CEO of Kootenai Health or the Board of Trustees. When the hospital becomes a 501c3 does the taxing district go dormant or does it go away?
On page 32 it is stated that the current board of trustees will be the initial board of the 501c3. Anyone want to take bets on how long that lasts?
Page 37 shows how the management of Kootenai Health is out of touch with the community. “KH enjoys a strong, positive image in the region.” Really? Do they not hear what people say about them? 2020 really hurt the hospitals image in our region. Why were protests in front of KH needed to ensure that the religious and constitutional right of its employees were respected?
Two big items that aren’t in this document.
No mention of giving money to the taxpayers of Kootenai County.
No mention of the rights of the employees current working for KH. Will religious exemptions still happen for the jab?
Who gave the hospital the initial assists and funds that have enabled KH to grow? The taxpayers of Kootenai County. Who isn’t mentioned once in this document? The taxpayers of Kootenai County.