The oldest hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, last week agreed to be purchased by the industry's newest healthcare giant, Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp.
Saint Joseph Hospital, which is owned by the Daughters of Charity National Health System-West Central, will be merged with Columbia/HCA's 338-bed Medical Plaza Hospital. Medical Plaza is located about two miles away from Saint Joseph in Fort Worth.
Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. However, Saint Joseph executives said Columbia/HCA has agreed to continue providing a specific amount of charity care at the long-time Roman Catholic hospital. In addition, some Saint Joseph board members will remain on the board of the hospital, and the Daughters of Charity will retain the hospital's hospice program.
Saint Joseph is Fort Worth's third-largest not-for-profit hospital. Saint Joseph and Medical Plaza each have about 4% of the hospital admissions in Tarrant County.
Saint Joseph executives said the sale emerged from joint-venture discussions with Medical Plaza that started several months ago.
"To survive, Saint Joseph needed obstetric services, and Medical Plaza needed more volume," explained Robert Wardwell, Saint Joseph's acting chief executive officer. Although Saint Joseph is licensed for 475 beds, it staffs about 200, he said. "Consolidation of services is what makes sense for this community," Mr. Wardwell added.
Arthur Gonzalez, Saint Joseph's former CEO, left last month to be CEO of Schumpert Medical Center in Shreveport, La. However, Mr. Wardwell said Mr. Gonzalez's departure wasn't a reflection on the hospital's imminent sale. He noted that Mr. Gonzalez was the "major architect" behind the consolidation with Medical Plaza and that Mr. Gonzalez likely would have been retained in the post by Columbia/HCA.
Currently, Columbia/HCA has eight hospitals in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
Columbia Hospital Corp., the Fort Worth-based predecessor of Columbia/HCA, had attempted to buy Saint Joseph two years ago from Incarnate Word Health Services, San Antonio. Instead, the hospital was sold to the Daughters of Charity.
In other Columbia/HCA-related developments, Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and several of its affiliates are discussing various collaborative options with a number of hospital groups, including Columbia/HCA, said Donald Wells, Emory's executive director.
Mr. Wells said he couldn't specify the options Emory is discussing with the hospital groups. However, he denied that the hospital system was discussing a sale. "We are exploring alternatives to develop a seamless system of managed care," he said. Emory University operates two hospitals and several clinics in the Atlanta area.
Columbia/HCA now owns 196 hospitals in 26 states, England and Switzerland.