Negotiations between Starke County government officials and the owners of Starke Hospital regarding a new lease on the existing facility are continuing, according to information shared during Monday’s county commissioners meeting. Starke Hospital officials are hoping to build a new hospital on the current site at the intersection of U.S. 35 and State Road 8 in Knox. The county owns the building and land on which it sits, and the hospital’s lease on the site is almost up. Both sides agreed last month to a 90 day extension of the notice period should the hospital decide not to renew. That pushes their deadline to reach a new deal out to the end of June.
County officials say they are “making progress” in the negotiations with officials from Tennessee-based Community Health Systems. The for-profit company owns 80 percent of both Starke and LaPorte Hospitals, while IU Health has retained ownership of the other 20 percent.
Commissioner Kathy Norem says she’s hopeful the negotiations are close to complete. She added a public meeting to discuss proposed terms and the future of health care in Starke County will take place before a new lease is signed.