Allegheny Health, Education and Research Foundation has stepped up its efforts to find a buyer for its still-solvent operations in the Pittsburgh area.
Bids are due Jan. 15 for the four-hospital block, known as Allegheny University Hospitals-West. It comprises 569-bed Allegheny General, Pittsburgh; 268-bed Allegheny Valley, Natrona Heights; 120-bed Canonsburg (Pa..) Hospital; and 317-bed Forbes Regional, Monroeville.
AHERF will not sell the hospitals separately, said spokesman Thomas Chakurda. Citing confidentiality agreements, he said he could not discuss the status of negotiations. However, he said, the committee considering bids prefers a not-for-profit partner and AHERF hopes to conclude the process by the end of the month.
AHERF said it is continuing separate talks begun last fall with Dallas-based LifeCare Management Services about selling 152-bed Forbes Metropolitan, a long-term acute-care facility in Pittsburgh.
Among the more likely candidates to bid on the four-hospital package are 455-bed Western Pennsylvania Hospital; Catholic Health East, Radnor, Pa.; and a consortium of outlying community hospitals called Community Hospital Alliance, which includes Westmoreland Regional Hospital, Greensburg, Pa., Monongahela (Pa.) Valley Hospital and Conemaugh Hospital, Johnstown, Pa.
A familiar AHERF bidder may reappear. Tenet Healthcare Corp. is considering making an offer and has people in Pittsburgh studying the hospitals, said Harry Anderson, a spokesman for the Santa Barbara, Calif.-based company. Tenet bought AHERF's Philadelphia operations for $345 million.
It's hard to gauge how much the four hospitals may fetch and when, because of uncertainty over historical financial information, future liabilities and the extent to which creditors, the bankruptcy trustee and U.S. Bankruptcy Court will influence the sale of the assets.
Unlike AHERF's hospitals in Philadelphia, these facilities are relatively solid properties that should command serious dollars, market watchers say.