Five hospital organizations, including Asante Health System of Medford, submitted proposals to form an alliance with Ashland Community Hospital.

Five hospital organizations, including Asante Health System of Medford, submitted proposals to form an alliance with Ashland Community Hospital.

The ACH board reviewed the proposals for the first time during a meeting today, but made no decisions surrounding a potential partnership.

In addition to Asante, organizations that submitted proposals included Providence Health & Services of Seattle; Catholic Healthcare West of San Francisco; Capella Healthcare of Franklin, Tenn.; and RegionalCare Hospital Partners of Brentwood, Tenn. On Monday, Catholic Healthcare West, the fifth largest hospital system in the nation, changed its name to Dignity Health. The full name of Providence has been corrected in this article.)

ACH Chief Executive Officer Mark Marchetti said the hospital's board will work to narrow down its options, likely to two potential partners.

That will include exchanging information with the potential partners and entering into preliminary negotiations for the next two to three weeks, Marchetti said.

Currently, the hospital isn't leaning toward any one of the proposals, said Marchetti, and a final decision isn't expected to be made until May.

He said it's too early to discuss what a potential partnership will entail, because the returned proposals are "very general."

"I think at this point there are still more questions than answers," said Marchetti.

— Sam Wheeler