Methodist Healthcare is one step closer to purchasing 86-bed McNairy County General Hospital in Selmer, Tenn.
On June 29, McNairy County commissioners voted 11-9 to approve Methodist's proposal, valued at more than $10 million.
Methodist's bid beat out a similarly valued offer from Jackson-based West Tennessee Healthcare.
Memphis-based Methodist will purchase the hospital for $3.7 million and will implement a $7 million capital improvement plan that includes renovation of the hospital's exterior and upgrades of its obstetrics department, emergency room, and operating and recovery room.
In addition, Methodist plans to construct an assisted-living facility, which will require a capital investment of $1.8 million, and a wellness center.
"Although I can't speak for the commissioners, I believe many commissioners felt West Tennessee had a better short-term plan, but Methodist was better for the long term," said Mike Smith, McNairy County executive.
West Tennessee proposed to purchase the hospital for $4.4 million and then make $6.1 million worth of improvements to the hospital facility and equipment.
The hospital's current board of trustees, which owns the hospital jointly with the McNairy County Commission, also must approve the sale, Smith said. A meeting date has not been set.
McNairy began looking for a buyer in April because the hospital was experiencing cash flow problems, Smith said.
The McNairy hospital has about $2.1 million in debt. It lost $47,900 on total revenues of $7.5 million for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1997.
Methodist owns and operates 15 hospitals in West Tennessee and central Mississippi.
The purchase of McNairy will round out Methodist's network in rural West Tennessee, according to Donna Abney, Methodist's senior vice president.
"We have a hub in Jackson but were noticeably void in the south," Abney said. "Selmer became a nice strategic fit for us south of Jackson."