Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. announced plans to acquire the company's eighth hospital in West Virginia.
Nashville-based Columbia said it has signed a letter of intent to acquire Beckley (W.Va.) Hospital and filed for state approval of the deal. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The 65-bed for-profit hospital will join seven others as part of Columbia's network in the state, which has a total of 59 acute-care hospitals.
The other Columbia facilities are Columbia Raleigh General Hospital, also in Beckley; Columbia St. Luke's Hospital in Bluefield; Columbia Saint Francis Hospital in Charleston; Columbia River Park Hospital in Huntington; Columbia Putnam General Hospital in Hurricane; Columbia Greenbrier Valley Medical Center in Ronceverte; and St. Joseph's Hospital in Parkersburg.
Columbia's burgeoning presence in the state has compelled not-for-profit competitors to strengthen their positions by forming jointly operated systems.
Last week, for instance, West Virginia University Hospitals in Morgantown and United Hospital Center in Clarksburg announced they have completed their merger and formed the not-for-profit West Virginia United Health System.
The hospitals began the merger process in August 1996. Later that year, the state Legislature approved the deal. They have now received federal antitrust clearance and approval from the West Virginia Health Care Cost Review Authority.
The hospitals, 35 miles apart, will have a combined budget of $250 million that will be overseen by a new board composed of representatives from around the state.