The De Queen, Ark., city council agreed to transfer the operations of 25-bed De Queen Regional Medical Center to for-profit Pacer Health Corp., Miami. The agreement, subject to bankruptcy court approval, calls for Pacer to purchase the hospital out of bankruptcy for $4.1 million and sell the facilities back to the city for $1 million. The city, in turn, would lease the facilities to Pacer for $1 a year. It also would provide $1 million in capital for the hospital, to be matched by Pacer. De Queen Regional was set to close earlier this month when funds to keep open its outsourced emergency room were nearly gone. Various parties stepped up to pay the bill, and Pacer agreed to cover it going forward, De Queen Mayor Dale Kesner said. Pacer hopes to return the hospital to profitability within about 18 months and retain ownership of it, said Ray Gonzalez, the firm's chairman and chief executive officer. Pacer so far has turned around one distressed small hospital and is close to turning around a second, Gonzalez said. -- by Paul Barr
Ark. city, turnaround firm agree on hospital deal
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