Ardent Health Services, Nashville, has completed its first acquisition of a not-for-profit system since the former Behavioral Healthcare Corp. turned its focus to acute-care hospitals last year. Ardent bought four-hospital St. Joseph Healthcare System, Albuquerque, for $77 million, with a formal announcement of the closing scheduled for today. The seller was Catholic Health Initiatives, Denver. The deal includes three acute-care hospitals, a rehabilitation hospital, an assisted-living facility, a Medicare HMO with about 6,300 members and a 3% ownership stake in 55-bed Heart Hospital of New Mexico, Albuquerque. For-profit MedCath Corp., Charlotte, N.C. owns the majority stake in the heart hospital. The St. Joseph system will be renamed Sandia Health System.
Ardent also signed a definitive agreement in July to purchase Lovelace Health Systems, Albuquerque, for $235 million. Lovelace, if acquired, also would be operated as part of the Sandia system. Lovelace includes a 191-bed hospital, a 167,700-member health plan and a multispecialty group practice with 255 physicians. The seller is insurer Cigna Corp., Philadelphia. The deal requires approval by state and federal regulators, and Ardent expects to close by year-end. Ardent now operates five acute-care hospitals, one rehabilitation hospital and 21 psychiatric facilities. -- by Vince Galloro