**Update: More about this now posted at Barry’s Blog.**
KishHealth System officials answered questions from the public following a presentation before the DeKalb County Board last night. While the Daily Chronicle chose not to address an exchange regarding who owns the real estate where Kishwaukee Hospital operates (as well as other KishHealth System holdings acquired by Northwestern Medicine), journalist-cum-blogger Barry Schrader did. Here’s an excerpt from an emailed statement (my emphasis added):
In answer to my question about who now owns the real estate, the bricks and mortar and everything else inside the hospitals, other properties and clinics, [KishHealth president and CEO] Kevin Poorten admitted they have sold everything to Northwestern Memorial/Medical (and are keeping him and his high-salaried team on to watch over it for them). Do people realize this means Northwestern could be merged or absorbed next month or next year by a larger health care conglomerate and we have lost all control, all chance of ever getting our “community-owned” hospitals and health care system back?
I addressed the county board right after this and called for a grand jury investigation of how this happened and who was responsible for the atrocious action. Now we need a clarion call from the people at large demanding to know how this board and its management team could take a “community-owned asset” valued at some $340 million and give it away for zero dollars. In the original incorporation papers it stated the county board would have first choice at taking back the property and hospital if the [not-for-profit] corporation was dissolved.
In addition to the discovery that the property was intended to come back to the county, there’s another reason for feelings of betrayal. The application made to the state, specifically Question 5 (p. 7 of the app), asked the legal name of the entity that would own the “bricks and mortar” of the facility. The answer given was “Kishwaukee Community Hospital,” and furthermore:
The proposed transaction will not affect the building ownership of Kishwaukee Community Hospital.
That’s evidently not what happened and therefore needs to be explained.
Schrader does not expect that DeKalb state’s attorney Richard Schmack would impanel a grand jury on his own initiative, but as Schmack represents the DeKalb County Board it seems reasonable to expect the board could compel him to do it.
Perhaps the extensive KishHealth donor base could help provide some motivation.
If you haven’t already, I strongly recommend you check out Barry’s Blog for his ongoing series of posts related to Northwestern’s acquisition of KishHealth.