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Community voices strong opposition to proposed YRMC partnership;LifePoint seeks to gain public trust

Yuma community members gathered at the Yuma Civic Center on Wednesday night to voice strong opposition to a proposed partnership between Yuma Regional Medical Center and LifePoint Health, a national health care organization based in Tennessee.

Representatives from LifePoint Health made a community presentation before the Hospital District Number 1 board. Officials said they are committed to quality health care and being good partners in the community.

"We welcome the questions (from the community)," said Victor Giovanetti, executive vice president of hospital operations for LifePoint. "We ask the community to take some time, just get to know us and continue to be passionate about their hospital, about their health care and the benefits it provides their community."

The joint venture would change YRMC's status from non-profit to for-profit. Bob Cuckler was one of several residents who spoke in favor of keeping YRMC as a non-profit. 

“For the district board, I really hope they start considering alternatives to YRMC and LifePoint," Cuckler said. "As far as LifePoint goes, I really think the mistake they made is they got in with the wrong bunch of folks, you know, YRMC already isn’t very popular here.”

District board members said they welcomed a higher number of attendees than usual. Connie Uribe said it’s important that the board hears from the community and they’ll consider their comments moving forward.

“Nothing can happen without the board’s approval because we own the land, we own the hospital and we own everything in it,” Uribe said. 

No officials from YRMC spoke at the meeting and no action was taken by the board on the proposed merger. 

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Stay tuned to KAWC for more coverage of the proposed YRMC partnership.

Correction: 

Oct. 27, 2021- An earlier caption incorrectly said that community members at the hospital board meeting raised their hands when a board member asked them if they thought the partnership was a good idea. In fact, the caption should have read that they raised their hands only when the board member asked them to do so if they thought it was a bad idea.

Victor is originally from West Sacramento, California and has lived in Arizona for more than five years. He began his print journalism career in 2004 following his graduation from Georgetown University in Washington D.C. Victor has been a reporter for the following daily newspapers: The Monterey County Herald, The Salinas Californian and the Reno Gazette-Journal, where he covered stories including agriculture, education and Latino community news. Victor has also served as a local editor for Patch, a national news organization with hyperlocal websites, in Carmichael, California in the Sacramento area. He also served as the editor for The New Vision, the newspaper for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson, which includes Yuma and La Paz counties. Victor lives in Somerton. He enjoys spending time with his family and friends and following most sports.
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