Community Health Systems, Brentwood, Tenn., has signed a letter of intent to buy 325-bed Mercy Health Center, Laredo, Texas, according to the seller, Sisters of Mercy Health System, St. Louis. Terms were not disclosed. Subject to regulatory approvals, the deal is expected to close this fall. Unlike many sales of not-for-profit hospitals to investor-owned chains, the Mercy sale was not triggered by substantial future capital needs. The hospital was built in 1999 as a replacement facility. In a written statement, Sisters of Mercy President and CEO Ron Ashworth said the system couldn't continue to run the hospital with poor reimbursement from government programs, the rising cost of malpractice coverage and competition from for-profit specialty hospitals. To be on equal footing with competitors, the hospital needs to be under for-profit management, Ashworth said. Community already owns or operates eight Texas hospitals, among the 70 hospitals it owns or operates in 22 states. -- by Vince Galloro
Community to buy Catholic hospital in Texas
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