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Lee Health transitions to private nonprofit hospital as plans advance

Lee Health has analyzed its funds to find out the advantages of either remaining a public hospital or converting to a non-public nonprofit system, concluding that a conversion could be advantageous in the long term despite initial challenges. The publicly-elected board of the 1,865-bed system, operating on a $3 billion budget, was briefed on the potential advantages of this transformation.

A ten-year projection from 2025 indicates that Lee Health’s net patient revenue would amount to $34.5 billion if it stays a public hospital. Nonetheless, this number would increase to $35.5 billion if the conversion to a non-public nonprofit system were to happen. This projected $1 billion gain over the course of the following decade was presented by Ben Spence, the chief financial officer.

While transitioning to a non-public nonprofit system may lead to the lack of $60 million in supplemental payments currently allocated to supporting uninsured and underinsured patients, it also offers a bunch of latest financial opportunities. As a non-public nonprofit entity, Lee Health would have the opportunity to expand its services regionally, form joint ventures, and even enterprise beyond the county, marking significant growth potential.

Because the board prepares to make a choice by June 20, Dr. Larry Antonucci, the president and CEO, has expressed his suggestion to maneuver forward with the conversion. With 60 senior system leaders already in support, a public hearing is scheduled for April 25 at Gulf Coast Medical Center for community input.

Following a possible vote, negotiations with the Lee County Commission shall be crucial for final approval. Nonetheless, it’s emphasized that the county commission won’t be taking on the management of the system. The present board members will remain in place in the course of the transition, and recent bylaws are being developed to align with the nonprofit status.

Within the face of accelerating competition and changing healthcare landscapes, the conversion to a non-public nonprofit system is seen as a possibility to reinforce strategic partnerships, control costs, and ensure sustainable growth. By securing a mission agreement and operational oversight, Lee Health goals to take care of its commitment as a safety-net provider while seizing recent avenues for progress.

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