Ransom Memorial Hospital is on its way to join the AdventHealth.

The RMH board of trustees signed a letter of intent to affiliate with AHS with a 120-day due diligence period to give each party time to ensure the affiliation is in their best interest. That was signed in late August.

The Franklin County commissioners approved entering into the real estate and personal property lease with the Ransom Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees and a resolution confirming the RMH Board of Trustees’ authority to lease Ransom Memorial Hospital and certain of its operations to AdventHealth. Both votes were unanimous in Wednesday’s meeting.

Derek Brown, county administrator/counselor, said this was a procedural matter that was discussed before the RMH board entered into the due diligence period.

“One of them is a lease which clarifies some of the rights that the Ransom board of trustees has,” he said.

Justin Shinkle, lawyer representing RMH, explained to the commissioners there has been due diligence completed since the signing of the agreement in August.

“The reason for that lease is that the county technically has the title to the hospital, real and personal property,” Shinkle said. “AdventHealth requested that we get a lease confirming the hospital has the authority to use the hospital property and to lease the hospital to AdventHealth-Ransom Memorial. That entity has already been formed.”

He explained part of the agreement would be AdventHealth would infuse a minimum of $10 million in increased capital in the next 10 years.

“Adventist Health is committed to upgrading the hospital’s IT infrastructure to the Adventist Health platform,” Shinkle said. “And assume the hospital’s liability and debt.”

He told the commissioners the new board of Ransom Memorial-AdventHealth will comprise of at least three members from the Ransom Memorial Hospital board and also a majority of individuals that work and live in Franklin County.

“The Ransom Memorial Hospital board will have the final decision of all tax revenue to be spent for the benefit of the hospital,” Shinkle said. “Those dollars will be spent for capital improvements, indigent care, and other similar projects and programs benefiting the hospital and Franklin County. AdventHealth is committed to achieving and maintaining top quality ratings and Ransom Memorial Hospital board will participate in that review and discussion regarding the hospital’s quality improvement program.”

He said if AdventHealth breaches any terms of the lease, then the RMH may terminate that lease.

Randy Renoud, commission chair, commended the RMH board and staff for their forward thinking in making this affiliation possible.

“That one statement where as more than 80 rural hospitals in the United States and three in Kansas have closed since 2010,” Renoud said. “Obviously, keeping this hospital functioning for our community is the utmost [responsibility] for this commission.”