Universal Health Services has agreed to buy 183-bed Aiken (S.C.) Regional Medical Centers, a hospital that Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. had been required to sell by the Federal Trade Commission.
Financial terms weren't disclosed.
In a related matter concerning Universal, creditors have turned down a bid by the King of Prussia, Pa.-based chain to buy 117-bed Timberlawn Psychiatric Hospital, a for-profit, private hospital in Dallas.
In the South Carolina deal, Aiken was owned by Hospital Corporation of America. However, as a condition of its merger with Columbia Healthcare Corp. last February, the hospital chain agreed to sell the hospital. The FTC had said that Columbia/HCA's control of Aiken and 292-bed Augusta (Ga.) Regional Medical Center would be anti-competitive in the market.
In Texas, Universal, a 28-hospital chain, had bid $8 million to purchase Timberlawn, which is owned by the hospital's medical staff and employees.
However, the bid was short of the $14 million owed on the facility, leading creditors to turn down the offer, said Sheryl Howard, the hospital's executive director. Half of the debt is owed to NationsBank and the other half to unsecured creditors.
The hospital has been in default on its bank loan since May, prompting it to seek a buyer, Ms. Howard said.
The hospital also has sued National Medical Enterprises in state District Court, charging that NME's operation of psychiatric hospitals in Texas contributed to Timberlawn's financial problems. Damages have not been calculated in the suit.