Jan 24, 2011 7:40 PM by Jeannette Hynes

Memorial Hospital's future is on hold

The future of Memorial Health System in Colorado Springs is on hold after a Mayoral Task Force recommended the delay to city councilmembers Monday afternoon.

Memorial Health System Board of Trustees Vice-President John Moore says two reasons go into asking for the delay.

1.  Moore says recent survey results show citizens are confused about the proposed changes to Memorial Health System's operations.

2.  The estimated buyout for PERA (Public Employees' Retirement Association) stands at $246 million dollars, which is head-and-shoulders above what some had estimated in the beginning of discussing Memorial Hospital's future.

About a year ago, Colorado Springs City Council commissioned a group to look into different health system models for the city-owned hospitals.  After several meetings and public input, the commission recommended Memorial Health System to become an independent nonprofit hospital. 

The plan was to put the issue on the April ballot, but the PERA numbers recently released have delayed those plans.

"There is some work to be done in that area to assure that we meet the expectations of all our employees," explains Moore.

Those in charge must now study the options on PERA, whether that means paying the debt over time or keeping employees under the public employee pension plan.

"It actually gives a different picture to the possibilities that Memorial has in front of it," says Jan Martin, Colorado Springs City Councilmember.

A public vote on the issue would come no earlier than November.



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