Demonstrating once again the myriad business connections in the healthcare industry, Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp.'s R. Clayton McWhorter is getting into the assisted-living business in Georgia with a system that recently sold its flagship hospital to Tenet Healthcare Corp.
Last week Atlanta-based Georgia Baptist Health Care System agreed to create a limited liability company with Nashville-based LifeTrust America to build a statewide system of assisted-living facilities.
McWhorter's venture capital firm, Clayton Associates, is the financial backer for LifeTrust, which will own 51% of the new company. McWhor-ter, 64, is the former president and chief executive officer of Healthtrust and is a current board member for Nashville-based Columbia.
Georgia Baptist will own 49% of the new joint venture company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Last year Georgia Baptist exited the tertiary-care business by selling its 450-bed flagship facility, Georgia Baptist Medical Center, to Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Tenet for an estimated $200 million. It still operates four smaller hospitals, three long-term-care facilities and other services.
Georgia Baptist CEO David Harrell said that since the sale of its tertiary-care hospital, the system has been reassessing the state's healthcare needs and ways to fill the niches. There seemed to be a widespread need for assisted-living facilities, he said.
As part of the limited liability deal, Georgia Baptist contributed three properties, and LifeTrust contributed four, including an assisted-living facility in Macon, Ga. Officials from both sides said no target number of facilities has been established.
LifeTrust already operates 18 assisted-living residences in six states and has 22 under construction. It recently acquired CareLink Health Partners, a Dallas-based senior-services management firm.
McWhorter said LifeTrust will partner with Georgia Baptist on certain assisted-living facilities in the state but is also planning to build facilities there on its own. The agreement stipulates that LifeTrust's sole ownership facilities must be at least 15 miles away from a joint venture facility.