Perhaps it's a good thing that two separate buyers may purchase Eastmoreland Hospital and Woodland Park Hospital, both 77-bed hospitals in Portland, Ore.
Their current owner, Symphony Healthcare, Nashville, appears to be the latest investor-owned start-up company to own both hospitals and end up on the scrap heap. Privately held Symphony is in discussions with two separate groups of physician investors to divest the hospitals, according to a spokeswoman for one of the investor groups.
Former Iasis Healthcare Corp. executive Kenneth Perry started Symphony in November 2001 and serves as its president and chief executive officer. The company purchased the two Portland hospitals-its only two-from now-defunct HealthMont, Franklin, Tenn., nearly two years ago. That sale was the beginning of the end for HealthMont. Last year, the company was sold to SunLink Health Systems, Atlanta. HealthMont purchased the hospitals out of the bankruptcy of New American Healthcare Corp., Brentwood, Tenn. New American owned nine hospitals when it declared bankruptcy in April 2000. HealthMont was founded by former New American executives.
Perry did not return several phone calls seeking comment on Symphony's fate.
Woodland Park closed pending the sale negotiations, said Dianne Danowski-Smith, a spokeswoman for the physicians interested in buying the hospital. The hospital's average daily census was down to 30, Danowski-Smith said, and she cited published reports that indicated the hospital had trouble meeting its payroll. A credit company working with Symphony accepted a letter of intent from the physicians last December, but the parties continue to negotiate over payment of potential back taxes, accounts payable and other liabilities, Danowski-Smith said. The physician group hopes to complete the sale within two weeks and reopen the hospital within a month, she said.
A separate group of physicians was negotiating to buy Eastmoreland, Danowski-Smith said.
The two hospitals have been owned by a succession of for-profit companies since the mid-1980s, said Danowski-Smith, who was the marketing and strategic planning director at Woodland from 1998 to 2001.