Although Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. failed in its late-hour proposal to persuade trustees of South Miami (Fla.) HealthSystem to veto a proposed merger with Baptist Health System, Miami, the effort generated criticism and charges of tampering from the two not-for-profit systems.
Two days before South Miami approved the merger last month with Baptist, 224 board members of South Miami's governing foundation received an unsolicited acquisition offer from Jamie Hopping, Columbia's South Florida division president.
"Basically, I'd gotten a lot of feedback from (South Miami) doctors concerned that they're going to lose their hospital and there aren't going to be any choices for them anymore in south Dade (County)," Hopping was quoted as saying in the April 25 issue of Medical Business, a Miami-based newspaper.
Hopping was unavailable for comment at press time.
Executives for Baptist and South Miami said the merger, which is expected to be completed in June, will expand opportunities for physicians.
They also said they were upset that Columbia tried to derail the merger. A month before the Hopping letter, the two systems had agreed that they would engage in exclusive negotiations. Last year, South Miami rejected a Columbia merger proposal.
In her letter, Hopping reportedly offered South Miami $120 million more than Baptist for the two-hospital system.