/ Modified may 7, 2024 4:39 p.m.

County might sell hospital

Banner open to buying former Kino Community Hospital.

Banner UMC South The entrance to Banner — University Medical Center South.
Courtesy Banner - UMC

Pima County wants to get out of the hospital business - or at least find another way to pay for its 45-year-old facility that serves a low income population on the city’s south side.

County supervisors Tuesday discussed selling the county-owned hospital, now called Banner-UMC South. The board approved a five-year extension of Banner Health’s contract to run the facility, but also made it clear they were open to other arrangements.

Republican Supervisor Steve Christy raised the subject when he asked Banner resentatives, "Why doesn't Banner buy the hospital?"

The CEO of Banner – University Medical Group, Bob Evani, says he’s open to a potential sale.

“Rather than kicking it down four and a half years and then having a similar discussion, I would move that we start to have those discussions within the next year, year and a half, so we can plan together what services are necessary to serve that community,” Evani said.

In the meantime, the board approved paying Banner $15 million a year for five years to continue operating the 245-bed facility.

The county built it as Kino Community Hospital in 1977, but handed operations over to a contractor - then called UMC Physicians - in 2004 when it faced financial problems.

It’s a drain on the county’s general fund, even though it serves only a small part of the community. That’s why supervisors want to look at selling it or finding alternative funding, such as setting up a special taxing district.

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