Kootenai County voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment allowing public hospitals to form partnerships with private businesses.
With 8 percent of precincts reporting, 3,356 people - or 60 percent - voted for the amendment, and 2,206 voted against it.
Statewide numbers were not available late Tuesday.
Currently, the constitution prevents public hospitals from lending credit to businesses. That means public hospitals such as Kootenai Medical Center can’t buy joint laboratory equipment with private centers in Spokane.
Critics feared the amendment would allow hospitals like KMC to eliminate competition by combining resources with private businesses to overwhelm smaller operations.
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