Citing healthcare reform and 50% occupancy rates, JFK Medical Center, Atlantis, Fla., officials announced that long-time rival Palm Beach Regional Hospital in Lake Worth, Fla., will close Aug. 21.
Both hospitals are owned by Co-Hospital companies
lumbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. and are located two miles apart. JFK Medical Center, formerly a not-for-profit hospital, was acquired by Columbia earlier this year. Palm Beach came to Columbia through its acquisition of Healthtrust.
"Both hospitals are under 50% occupancy," said Richard Cascio, JFK's president and chief executive officer. "We are doing this to gain economies of scale and avoid duplication of services in a market with tremendous overcapacity."
Plans call for 369-bed JFK Medical Center to absorb much of 200-bed Palm Beach's services, including emergency and surgical.
Cascio said decisions haven't been made whether to transfer Palm Beach's 12-bed skilled-nursing unit and year-old obstetric services to JFK.
Layoffs are expected, but an announcement on the number won't be made until Aug. 18, when executives are expected to complete a staffing review, Cascio said. Palm Beach employs 420 workers.
Palm Beach opened in the 1960s by a group of JFK physicians who wanted an alternative to JFK.
Although Palm Beach earned money in 1994, the for-profit hospital had lost money from 1991 to 1993, said Wayne Campbell, its president and CEO, who spearheaded the turnaround.
Campbell will become president and CEO of 95-bed Palms West Hospital, Loxahatchee, Fla., a Columbia-owned facility.
Sources said part of the agreement JFK cut with Columbia to sell the hospital was a requirement that Columbia close Palm Beach.
JFK officials, however, said they couldn't comment because of an agreement with Columbia not to disclose details of the sale of the hospital.