Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., which had previously agreed to buy 50% of Bishop Clarkson Memorial Hospital in Omaha, Neb., last week agreed to buy the entire operation for about $123 million.
In June, the Louisville, Ky.-based chain of 197 hospitals announced it intended to enter a 50-50 joint venture with the hospital's owner, Clarkson Regional Health Services, to operate the tax-exempt hospital. Under the deal, Columbia/HCA would have been general partner of the joint venture that operated the 300-bed hospital (July 4, p. 8).
However, as Clarkson and Columbia/HCA executives began discussing Columbia/HCA's aggressive plans for the region, Clarkson officials said they decided to sell the entire hospital.
"The acquisition will allow Clarkson to take full advantage of Columbia's resources, and share in the expertise and experience of Columbia's network of facilities around the country," said Louis W. Burgher, M.D., Clarkson's president and chief executive officer.
Clarkson is Columbia/HCA's first Nebraska hospital. It will be the third Omaha-area hospital owned by a for-profit chain. American Medical International owns AMI Saint Joseph Hospital in Omaha, and Quorum Health Group recently bought Midlands Community Hospital in Papillion, an Omaha suburb.
Clarkson's sale must be approved by the state department of health, and a certificate-of-need application is expected to be filed within 30 days, Clarkson officials said.
Under the terms of the deal, Columbia/HCA will pay off Clarkson's debt of $38 million and provide the Clarkson Foundation with an additional $85 million. The foundation, which now has assets of $65 million, is a subsidiary of Clarkson Regional Health Services. That organization also operates a nursing and allied health college, which will continue to operate and be affiliated with the hospital.