At least two hospital chiefs plan to buy the Charter Behavioral Health System hospitals they administer, MODERN HEALTHCARE has learned.
Anne Battin, the chief executive officer of Charter Charleston (S.C.) Behavioral Health System, has pooled funds with David Summer, a Columbia, S.C., healthcare attorney, to buy the 70-bed facility, an 18-bed residential treatment center in Florence, S.C., and an outpatient clinic in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
The deal was one of 24 approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., in late May (May 29, p. 6). Charter filed for bankruptcy in February.
Charles Webb, CEO of Charter Louisville (Ky.) Behavioral Health System, said he was among a group of local investors in final negotiations to buy the operating assets of the 66-bed hospital. The bankruptcy court last week approved the sale of the real estate, but the buyers of the operations are still trying to secure financing, Webb said.
Terms of the transactions weren't immediately available.
Battin said Charter's decision to close two area hospitals last year had created a bed shortage, and she decided to buy the hospital to make sure it stayed open. Battin plans to add 37 beds to the Florence facility to meet needs there.
In Winston-Salem, N.C., Novant Health couldn't come to terms with Crescent Real Estate Equities for the purchase of the Charter facility there, according to Daryl Kosloske, vice president of behavioral health services at Novant. He said he's worried about a bed shortage if the 111-bed facility is closed.
"Unless somebody swoops in at the last minute nobody will operate it," he said.
Crescent, which owns the real estate for the majority of the Charter hospitals, has said it won't comment on negotiations for specific hospitals.
"The most important thing is that as many of these facilities as possible continue to operate," said Mark Covall, executive director of the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems. Charter isn't a member of the association.
Universal Health Services plans to purchase the largest block of hospitals in the Charter bankruptcy, including four facilities in Atlanta and one each in Greer, S.C.; Lexington, Ky.; Memphis, Tenn.; Newark, Del.; Olive Branch, Miss.; Philadelphia; and Provo, Utah. It also bought a closed Charter hospital in McAllen, Texas, where UHS operates a 455-bed hospital.
UHS will pay $105 million for the package, which will make the King of Prussia, Pa.-based company the nation's biggest provider of psychiatric services.
But smaller providers are also getting in on the deals. Alaska's state mental hospital, 79-bed Alaska Psychiatric Institute in Anchorage, has been negotiating for months to buy Charter's facility there, but hasn't yet reached an agreement.
A hearing for final approval of the sales of the 24 hospitals is scheduled June 27. Negotiations on Charter's remaining 13 hospitals are ongoing.