community medical
Michael Gallacher photo, Missoulian

Contrary to the notion held by some concerned citizens, Community Medical Center’s board of directors has not yet voted on what to do with more than $67 million that is expected to come from the proposed sale of the hospital.

In September, the CMC board came to an agreement to sell the nonprofit hospital to a for-profit partnership between Billings Clinic and RegionalCare Hospital Partners for $67.4 million in cash.

According to Montana law, the money from any sale of a nonprofit has to go to a nonprofit organization or foundation.

At a meeting last March, the board voted to amend the hospital’s Articles of Amendment for Nonprofit Corporation to state that “upon the dissolution of the corporation, and after all of its liabilities and obligations have been paid, satisfied and discharged ... all of the corporation’s remaining assets shall be distributed to one or more organizations that are organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific or educational purposes within the meaning of sections 501(c)(3) and 170(c)(2)(B) of the Internal Revenue Code.”

The Montana Attorney General’s Office has to review and approve the sale and sign off on whatever the board chooses to do with the money from the sale, a decision that is expected to be made early next year.

A review by the Missoula County Attorney’s Office concluded that the county has no legal right to any of the proceeds.

Many people mistakenly believe the board voted last month on what to do with the money, but that isn’t the case, according to CMC spokeswoman Mary Windecker.

“The board of directors is currently looking at options for the disposition of assets,” she explained. “It’s estimated to be anywhere between $67 million and $70 million. It could either go into a new nonprofit foundation or an existing nonprofit. The board is looking at a few different proposals and working with the attorney general to vet every proposal.”

Creating a new nonprofit is an option for the board, but it might be easier to give the money to an existing nonprofit that already has a management structure, a staff and a well-developed mission.

There has been much speculation that the board is planning to give the money to the University of Montana Foundation to launch a physician assistant program, but Windecker said there has been no decision.

“The board has not submitted a formal proposal, but once they do, it will be put on the attorney general’s website,” she explained.

The website where all the documents pertaining to the sale can be found at https://dojmt.gov/consumer/for-consumers/community-medical-center/ and the Attorney General’s office is seeking public comment on the proposed sale.

There will be a public meeting on the matter at some point, but no date has been set.

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