70.44.310  <<  70.44.315 >>   70.44.320

Evaluation criteria and requirements for acquisition of district hospitals.

(1) When evaluating a potential acquisition, the commissioners shall determine their compliance with the following requirements:
(a) That the acquisition is authorized under chapter 70.44 RCW and other laws governing public hospital districts;
(b) That the procedures used in the decision-making process allowed district officials to thoroughly fulfill their due diligence responsibilities as municipal officers, including those covered under chapter 42.23 RCW governing conflicts of interest and chapter 42.20 RCW prohibiting malfeasance of public officials;
(c) That the acquisition will not result in the revocation of hospital privileges;
(d) That sufficient safeguards are included to maintain appropriate capacity for health science research and health care provider education;
(e) That the acquisition is allowed under Article VIII, section 7 of the state Constitution, which prohibits gifts of public funds or lending of credit and Article XI, section 14, prohibiting private use of public funds;
(f) That the public hospital district will retain control over district functions as required under chapter 70.44 RCW and other laws governing hospital districts;
(g) That the activities related to the acquisition process complied with chapters 42.56 and * 42.32 RCW, governing disclosure of public records, and chapter 42.30 RCW, governing public meetings;
(h) That the acquisition complies with the requirements of RCW 70.44.300 relating to fair market value; and
(i) Other state laws affecting the proposed acquisition.
(2) The commissioners shall also determine whether the public hospital district should retain a right of first refusal to repurchase the assets by the public hospital district if the hospital is subsequently sold to, acquired by, or merged with another entity.
(3)(a) Prior to approving the acquisition of a district hospital, the board of commissioners of the hospital district shall obtain a written opinion from a qualified independent expert or the Washington state department of health as to whether or not the acquisition meets the standards set forth in RCW 70.45.080.
(b) Upon request, the hospital district and the person seeking to acquire its hospital shall provide the department or independent expert with any needed information and documents. The department shall charge the hospital district for any costs the department incurs in preparing an opinion under this section. The hospital district may recover from the acquiring person any costs it incurs in obtaining the opinion from either the department or the independent expert. The opinion shall be delivered to the board of commissioners no later than ninety days after it is requested.
(c) Within ten working days after it receives the opinion, the board of commissioners shall publish notice of the opinion in at least one newspaper of general circulation within the hospital district, stating how a person may obtain a copy, and giving the time and location of the hearing required under (d) of this subsection. It shall make a copy of the report and the opinion available to anyone upon request.
(d) Within thirty days after it received the opinion, the board of commissioners shall hold a public hearing regarding the proposed acquisition. The board of commissioners may vote to approve the acquisition no sooner than thirty days following the public hearing.
(4)(a) For purposes of this section, "acquisition" means an acquisition by a person of any interest in a hospital owned by a public hospital district, whether by purchase, merger, lease, or otherwise, that results in a change of ownership or control of twenty percent or more of the assets of a hospital currently licensed and operating under RCW 70.41.090. Acquisition does not include an acquisition where the other party or parties to the acquisition are nonprofit corporations having a substantially similar charitable health care purpose, organizations exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the internal revenue code, or governmental entities. Acquisition does not include an acquisition where the other party is an organization that is a limited liability corporation, a partnership, or any other legal entity and the members, partners, or otherwise designated controlling parties of the organization are all nonprofit corporations having a charitable health care purpose, organizations exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the internal revenue code, or governmental entities. Acquisition does not include activities between two or more governmental organizations, including organizations acting pursuant to chapter 39.34 RCW, regardless of the type of organizational structure used by the governmental entities.
(b) For purposes of this subsection (4), "person" means an individual, a trust or estate, a partnership, a corporation including associations, a limited liability company, a joint stock company, or an insurance company.


*Reviser's note: The only section in chapter 42.32 RCW, RCW 42.32.030, was recodified as RCW 42.30.035 pursuant to 2017 3rd sp.s. c 25 § 30.
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