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U.S. Rep. Kaptur asks Gov. DeWine to slow down process which could lead to sale of UTMC

The University of Toledo announced on Monday it is seeking proposals for sale or potential partnership of the south Toledo hospital.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Ohio Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur is asking Ohio's Governor to slow down the University of Toledo's efforts seeking proposals for sale or partnership of the University of Toledo Medical Center hospital.

In a letter to the governor, Rep. Kaptur says the university's planned public request for proposal (RFP) process is a “disconcerting, harmful, and untimely development” during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The university’s RFP, announced on Monday, is seeking possible partnerships or sale of the University of Toledo Medical Center hospital.

Earlier this year the university disclosed that UTMC’s losses for fiscal year 2018 totaled $3.5 million and grew to $7 million in fiscal year 2019.

In addition, university officials say 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.

In her letter, Kaptur is asking the governor to stay the university’s proposal and obtain independent audits of the university’s financial decisions regarding the hospital.

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Kaptur cites the profound consequences any decision made on UTMC’s future will have for the region, saying the hospital is a “core element of the Toledo community and serves people of all incomes.”

She also raises concerns that there is an absence of physicians or other professionals with knowledge of academic medical centers on the University’s Board of Trustees whose members are appointed by the state.

Kaptur suggested the state’s medical centers need to be strengthened with money from the recently passed CARES Act as well as other federal legislation.

To bolster her case, Kaptur cited COVID-19 test kits, which were developed by the UT College of Medicine along with the hospital’s labs, and which are now being used across the region.

On Monday, University of Toledo President Sharon L. Gaber addressed the university’s decision to seek the proposals saying, “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. We hope that a solution emerges that addresses both of these concerns.”

An update on the RFP process is expected at the board’s next regular meeting scheduled for June 22.

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