Citing ongoing fiscal challenges, exacerbated further by the COVID-19 pandemic, The University of Toledo will seek requests for proposals for a potential acquisition, lease, management agreement or other transaction of its community hospital.
“We are undertaking this process to be responsive to the community’s concerns about access to healthcare and the University’s economic realities. We remain challenged as a small, independent hospital,” UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber said. “We hope that a solution emerges that addresses both of these concerns.”
In moving forward with examining all options for the hospital, University officials announced a planned public request for proposal (RFP) process during Monday’s regularly scheduled board meeting. The RFP to seek possible partnerships or sale of the University of Toledo Medical Center hospital (UTMC) is being finalized and is expected to be posted this week, with qualifying criteria needed to participate in the process. University officials have been keeping the Governor’s office informed, most recently communicating to the Chancellor of Higher Education, Randy Gardner, who the Governor designated as the University’s contact for this issue. An update on the RFP process is expected at the Board’s next regular meeting scheduled for June 22.
The University’s decision to move forward with an RFP process followed a financial update presented by Rick Swaine, UTMC’s current CFO and incoming CEO, who noted the hospital continues to struggle financially with the losses at the close of February at nearly $14.8 million. Preliminary implications of the COVID-19 response, including the state’s order to suspend all elective procedures, has substantially increased the financial strain on UTMC.
The RFP process also follows short-term stabilization efforts. On March 9, 2020, the Board of Trustees amended UTMC’s medical bylaws by removing the faculty-appointment restriction for practicing physicians. This has resulted in 12 additional community physicians applying for practicing rights at UTMC.
UTMC leadership also continues to work on a number of cost reduction strategies, including reviewing and reassessing all contracts and adjusting staff levels to align with the current needs during this pandemic response.
“We have committed to being as transparent as possible as we work through the RFP process and the cost reduction strategies,” UToledo Board of Trustees Chair Mary Ellen Pisanelli said. “As stewards of the University and the state, we must consider all options.”
The University previously shared at the February Board of Trustees meeting that UTMC’s losses for fiscal year 2018 totaled $3.5 million and grew to $7 million in fiscal year 2019.