In a settlement resolving an investigation from the Idaho attorney general's office, St. Luke's Health System has agreed to transfer its ownership of hospitals in McCall and Mountain Home back to their communities' taxing districts. Alternatively, St. Luke's will now lease the hospitals and continue to be responsible for their operations.
The investigation stemmed from a probe in which Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden accused St. Luke's of violating the Idaho Constitution when it received funds from the taxing districts under a contractual agreement. The AG's office said the combined revenue of the McCall and Mountain Home taxing districts ran to more than $3 million annually.
“The Idaho Constitution prohibits a government entity like a hospital district from donating assets or transmitting tax revenues to help support the operations of a private entity,” said Wasden in Tuesday's announcement. “That’s exactly what St. Luke’s agreements with these hospital districts did.”
As a result of the settlement, Wasden said he was closing his investigation, adding, "It's always a good day in my book when opposing sides can solve complex problems without having to litigate in court."
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