DRIGGS, Idaho -

Teton County, Idaho Commissioners have unanimously approved two measures transferring control of Teton Valley Hospital in Driggs to an independent hospital board.   Both steps are necessary to begin the hospital's conversion to non-profit status.

Commission Chairman Kathy Rinaldi said the first step was approval of a 99 year lease to Teton Valley Healthcare, Inc.  The nonprofit board was created in January to manage and operate the hospital assets for the county.  Teton County will retain ownership of hospital assets including future leaseholder improvements and acquired assets.

Commissioners also agreed to transfer the hospital's liquid assets.  Under those terms, Teton Valley Health Care will compensate the county a minimal annual base payment of $70 thousand for each year of operation.  If the hospital produces net operating profits, the bonus payment will be capped at 5 percent of net operating profit. 

The Board of Commissioners has decided to establish a special reserve, or "rainy day", fund to hold payments received under the agreement.  While that could change in the future, Rinaldi said the current board believes that money should be used to improve medical services to the county.

A decision on who will be contracted to manage the hospital will be decided later by the Teton Valley Health Care board. 

Bingham Memorial Hospital in Blackfoot has been involved in helping to guide Teton Valley Hospital towards nonprofit status and has been considered a leading contender for such a management agreement.