For-profit Essent Healthcare, Nashville, signed a definitive agreement to purchase 41-bed Deaconess-Nashoba Hospital, Ayer, Mass., from CareGroup, Boston, for about $8.6 million. Essent also has committed to investing at least $16 million in a replacement hospital by 2008, Essent Senior Vice President Hal Andrews said. The hospital appealed to Essent because Ayer is a growing, affluent area located about 35 miles northwest of downtown Boston, Andrews said. CareGroup also agreed to a tertiary-care affiliation with Deaconess-Nashoba. Under it, Deaconess-Nashoba doctors would refer patients with more serious conditions to CareGroup's 506-bed Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, and Beth Israel physicians would staff the Deaconess-Nashoba emergency room. Both sides are exploring other collaborations, Andrews said. Essent plans to file for regulatory approval from Massachusetts' attorney general and public health department by the end of the week and hopes to close the deal by year-end, Andrews said. CareGroup would own four hospitals if the deal is completed. -- by Vince Galloro
Essent in definitive pact for CareGroup hospital
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