Sarasota (Fla.) Memorial Hospital and Lee Memorial Health System, Fort Myers, Fla., agreed to form a regional provider organization to compete against Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. in southwest Florida.
The new company, which hasn't been named, will jointly negotiate managed-care contracts and become a vehicle to share clinical and management services in an effort to control costs, said Michael Covert, Sarasota Memorial's president and chief executive officer.
James Nathan, Lee Memorial's president and CEO, said Bon Secours Health System, Marriottsville, Md., and its two southwest Florida hospitals will be invited to join the new organization.
Columbia operates seven hospitals along southwest Florida's coast from Fort Myers to Bradenton. With the two Bon Secours hospitals, which are located between Fort Myers and Sarasota, the new not-for-profit company could operate five hospitals.
Lee Memorial and Columbia also are competing to acquire financially troubled 201-bed Cape Coral (Fla.) Hospital. Two weeks ago, Cape Coral Hospital mailed requests for proposals to Lee Memorial, Columbia and several other potential suitors. Cape Coral's board is expected to review the proposals in March.