It is now official.

After three decades of partnership, Boone Hospital and BJC have officially agreed to cut ties with each other.

BJC Healthcare will let its lease agreement expire at the end of 2020 it was announced yesterday.

Hospital Trustees said in a statement on Tuesday that “Our mutual needs no longer closely align.”

The Boone Hospital Trustees have been seeking a new contract – and potentially a new partnership – for two years. After several meetings around Boone County, including one in Ashland, the Trustees announced they would seek a new contract – either with BJC or another partner. The list of options included St. Luke’s Health System, of Kansas City and Duke LifePoint Healthcare, MU Healthcare, a new lease agreement with BJC or operating the hospital on their own.

Discussions with MU Healthcare ended in January of this year when it seemed as though the two would arrive at some kind of merger or MU Healthcare would manage Boone Hospital. However, Trustees said a merger would create antitrust difficulties and the two sides could not agree on a business model.

Boone Hospital Trustees have since hired H2C, an investment banking firm from New York City which focuses on the business of healthcare, to assist with negotiations and assess the hospitals assets and financial future.

“BJC has committed to working with the Trustees to ensure a smooth transition,” the trustees said in a statement Tuesday. “Under BJC’s leadership, Boone Hospital Center has received national recognition and awards for excellent patient care — developing into mid-Missouri’s highest-quality, lowest cost hospital and one of the area’s largest employers.”
Boone Hospital is the county’s largest asset and while BJC told Boone Trustees that MU HealthCare would be the county hospital’s best partnership, the Trustees indicated they would still be looking at all available options.

“As publicly elected stewards of Boone County’s most valuable asset, we are diligently working toward a decision on the future management of Boone Hospital Center within the next six months,” the statement said.