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Ascension Health to hold funds amid concern over sale to for-profit

By Mark Payne | Feb 12, 2015

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster | Missouri Attorney General's Office

Ascension Health, a nonprofit health care center, will set aside a portion of its proceeds from its forthcoming sale to a for-profit company, according to an announcement from Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.

Ascension will put $20 million in reserves to address Koster's concern that the sale to Prime Healthcare Services would hinder care to the general public of Kansas City. Ascension is selling both St. Mary’s Medical Center and St. Joseph Medical Center.

Both hospitals have been crucial to Kansas City by providing nonprofit care since the 19th century. The hospitals have benefitted from both private and tax dollars that ensured the hospital maintained sufficient care for the community. Koster wants to ensure this care continues, which is why he decided to push the hospital to set aside funds.

"For more than a century, the people of the Kansas City region have invested in St. Joseph and St. Mary's Medical Centers, both through their charitable contributions and their tax dollars," Koster said. "The Kansas City community has a right to expect that the company managing the assets it has nurtured for decades won’t sell those assets for a profit and then take the money out of town."

Koster was prepared to not approve the sale due to worry the for-profit company would shift proceeds from Kansas City to other entities throughout the U.S. He informed Ascension he was more concerned with where the proceeds were going rather than the sale itself.

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Missouri Office of the Attorney General