Banner Health will bid for Memorial Health System

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Banner Health, which has four hospitals in Colorado, plans to bid to lease Memorial Health System.

The hospital system operates in seven states, and has a graduate resident program at one of its locations in Phoenix, Ariz.

Its Colorado holdings are smaller, with hospitals in Loveland, Greeley, Sterling and Brush. However, that presence makes the interest in Memorial only natural, said Bill Byron, spokesman for the system.

“We are very interested in seeing the RFP (request for proposal),” he said. “We’ll know more then, but the hospital is definitely one we’re interested in.”

A city council-led task force is crafting the RFP, which will be finalized Friday. the RFPs will go out Monday, and returned by the Nov. 14. Council will vote on the task force recommendation in December, and the final decision will go to voters in 2012.  The task force decided to send the RFP to hospital systems currently operating in Colorado, but didn’t rule out allowing other systems to partner with Colorado hospitals to bid on leasing Memorial.

Banner isn’t concerned about the declining census numbers at Memorial, nor the resulting decline in profits.

“That has the potential to be reversed,” Byron said. “So, no, it doesn’t really rise to the level of keeping us from being interested.”

Nor does the fact that the city is only interested in leasing – not selling – Memorial. Banner is involved in lease agreements at the Northern Colorado Medical Center in Loveland and with the critical access hospital in Brush.

“We have experience that we’ll bring to Memorial,” Byron said. “We know about lease agreements, and we know about bringing organizations into our organization. Three and a half years ago, we brought two hospitals from a large health system into Banner Health.”

And although the Colorado holdings are smaller than Memorial – the hospital in Brush only has 25 beds – its holdings in other Western states are much larger. For instance, one of its Phoenix hospitals has 632 beds, he said.

“So we know large systems,” he said. “And we believe this is a good fit for us.”

So far, Banner, Centura Health and the University of Colorado hospital all have expressed an interest in the RFP.