The Colorado Springs City Council unanimously approved taking the next step in the future of Memorial Health System at its formal meeting this week.

It also created a negotiating team – with Council liaisons Merv Bennett and Brandy Williams – to discuss the final terms of the lease agreement with the University of Colorado Hospital system.

The city attorney is authorized to hire outside counsel to aid in developing the final lease as well.

There is no deadline in place regarding when the lease must be finalized – but Council agreed that one would be set sometime during the next month.

“I’d prefer 90 days,” said Counciwoman Angela Dougan, “but I understand it could take six months.”

Dougan also said she needed answers to certain questions during the lese negotiations.

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“I need a concrete answer to the PERA (Public Employees Retirement Association) question,” she said. “We haven’t had that yet. I would like the Tricare, Medicare and indigent care absolutely, definitely covered. And the medical school funding well documented.”

The University of Colorado Hospital was chosen by the city council after months of discussion and a request for proposal process. Their proposal included a $70 million up front payment, $5.6 million annually for 30 years and $3 million to pay for a local branch of the University of Colorado medical school. It also included promised capital improvements over the life of the lease of $1.2 billion.

The proposal creates a partnership with memorial Health System, UCH and Poudre Valley Health System. It also includes the Children’s Hospital in Denver.

The winning proposal has the support of Pam Shockley-Zalabak, chancellor of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Kyle Hyble, who serves as chairman of the board of regents for the University of Colorado system.