For a company that intends to acquire two to four hospitals annually, Quorum Health Group is close to hitting that mark three months early and has done so with little fanfare.
Company executives, though, denied that the Brentwood, Tenn.-based chain is on a buying binge.
Now in its third fiscal quarter, Quorum has one hospital purchase under its belt with three deals pending.
Except for the disclosure of its purchase of 211-bed Methodist Hospital in Hattiesburg, Miss., last September, news of the chain's acquisitions has seeped out with no formal announcements by Quorum.
The three pending acquisitions are:
Berwick (Pa.) Health Care Corp., which includes 409-bed Berwick Hospital Center and a 204-bed nursing home (Feb. 16, p. 20).
135-bed Cuyahoga Falls (Ohio) General Hospital (Feb. 9, p. 12).
176-bed UniMed Medical Center in Minot, N.D., and 30-bed Kenmare (N.D.) Community Hospital, both owned by Denver-based Sisters of St. Francis (Dec. 8, 1997, p. 32).
Quorum owns or manages 261 hospitals in 44 states.
The reason for the low profile is Quorum's policy barring announcements of pending deals. Shea Davis, Quorum's director of corporate communications, said Quorum leaves such announcements up to the local hospitals. It's more important for them to tell their community what's happening than for Quorum to make a national splash, she said.
"We don't feel we have anything to gain by pre-announcing anything," Davis said. "We announce an acquisition when it's closed."
Even though there are a number of deals happening simultaneously, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Steve Hewett said Quorum's quiet strategy is nothing new, nor is the company pursuing an aggressive acquisition game plan.
"We're doing the same thing we've always done, acquiring two to four (facilities) a year," Hewett said.
Meanwhile, Quorum said it expects to take a $15 million to $17 million after-tax charge on third-quarter earnings in connection with its new joint venture in Las Vegas with Universal Health Services.
The charge relates to goodwill in connection with the assets contributed to the joint venture.
The deal, which closed earlier this month, combines King of Prussia, Pa.-based UHS' 365-bed Valley Hospital Medical Center and 148-bed Summerlin Hospital with Quorum's 225-bed Desert Springs Hospital. UHS manages the new network and controls 64% of its assets. Quorum controls 36%.
Quorum said the charge is nonrecurring and noncash and applies to its third quarter ending March 31.