Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. last week closed two of three hospitals it acquired from Community Health Systems, citing overcapacity in Florida's Tampa Bay market.
The hospitals were acquired in a swap that was completed last week between the two investor-owned hospital chains. Nashville, Tenn.-based Columbia acquired three hospitals: Seminole Hospital and Women's Center; Pinellas Community Hospital, Pinellas Park; and University General Hospital, Seminole. Operations from the three hospitals will be moved into the University facility and other area Columbia hospitals.
As part of the swap, Columbia also received Hillside Hospital in Pulaski, Tenn. In return for the four hospitals, CHS received North Okaloosa Medical Center in Crestview, Fla.
Although Columbia received four hospitals for one, the value of CHS' Tampa-area hospitals had been falling during the last year as physicians shifted patients to other area facilities (Feb. 12, p. 92).
Low utilization apparently prompted Columbia to close the two hospitals. "Census at both Seminole Hospital and Pinellas Community is 40% to 50% lower than last year at this time," said Steven R. Wood, president of the three hospitals' joint medical staff.
The state last month denied Columbia's request for a certificate of need to convert the women's hospital into a long-term-care center.
The closures will eliminate 318 jobs. However, Columbia officials said those employees will be considered for openings at its 12 other area hospitals.