Baptist Hospitals and Health Systems, a Phoenix-based not-for-profit system, is close to announcing a sale or partnership involving three of its four hospitals, MODERN HEALTHCARE has learned. A decision may come as soon as next month.
Baptist President and Chief Executive Officer Gerald Wissink confirmed late last week that the system is talking to two systems about the future of Baptist's two hospitals in the Phoenix area: 222-bed Phoenix Baptist Hospital and Medical Center and 104-bed Arrowhead Community Hospital and Medical Center in suburban Glendale, Ariz.
Wissink identified the two potential partners for the hospitals as for-profit Vanguard Health Systems, a Nashville-based hospital chain, and not-for-profit Catholic Healthcare West, San Francisco.
Wissink also said Baptist is talking to two for-profit chains based in Brentwood, Tenn.-Community Health Systems and Province Healthcare Corp.-about a sale of or partnership with Baptist's 203-bed Western Arizona Regional Medical Center, Bullhead City.
Wissink declined to say whether the talks focus on selling the properties or some form of merger or joint venture.
"We're not sure yet," he said, noting that terms of any potential deals would likely be revealed by mid-December.
Baptist's fourth facility, 39-bed La Paz Regional Hospital in Parker, Ariz., about 120 miles west of Phoenix, is not involved in the discussions, Wissink said.
The four hospital systems talking to Baptist have a presence in Arizona, and the hospitals they want to acquire or jointly own seem to make strategic sense.
CHW owns 514-bed St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, and Vanguard owns 213-bed Maryvale Hospital Medical Center, also in Phoenix. CHS owns 34-bed Payson (Ariz.) Regional Medical Center, about 150 miles southeast of Bullhead City, and Province owns 118-bed Havasu Regional Medical Center in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., about 35 miles south of Bullhead City.
Spokesmen at CHS, CHW, Province and Vanguard either declined comment or were not available for comment at deadline.
Baptist has been looking for an outside partner since last spring to improve its competitive ability, efficiency and access to capital, according to internal documents from Wissink to Baptist trustees and staff. They were released at MODERN HEALTHCARE's request.