Officials of Baptist Hospital, the largest hospital in Nashville, Tenn., are considering changing their facility's tax status so they can have better access to capital.
"We're studying ri ght now, should we continue to be a not-for-profit hospital, or should we become some type of private or for-profit corporation?" David Stringfield, president of the 649-bed hospital, told the Exchange Club in Nashville last week. Nearly 100 members of the Exchange Club, a local civic organization, met at Baptist, where Stringfield spoke about the hospital and its mission.
His comments came near the end of his presentation in response to questions about the hospital's challenges.
Hospital spokeswoman Debby Koch cautioned that Stringfield's comments may have been misinterpreted. "Baptist is not for sale," she said. "We are true to our mission, our heritage.
"However, she said Stringf ield told Exchange Club members that the hospital's top concerns are access to capital and continuing to provide charity care. Baptist provided $23.8 million in free care last year, she said.
Whether Baptist could convert its tax st atus without selling to an investor-owned chain is questionable because few have taken that route.
One alternative to doing that is through InteCare, an Irving, Texas-based firm founded last year by John Casey, former American Medical International chief operating officer.
Koch said Baptist officials are aware of InteCare's plans, which propose 50-50 ventures in which tax-exempt hospitals trade half their assets for stock in a for-profit company (Nov. 6, 1995, p. 3).
However, she said Baptist officials hadn't had formal discussions with InteCare. InteCare officials were not available for comment.
VHA, an Irving, Texas-based alliance of not-for-profit hospitals, is a minority partner in In teCare. Baptist is a founding member of VHA.