MedCath Corp., Charlotte, N.C., will close its Heart Hospital of Milwaukee in suburban Glendale by mid-November and sell the hospital's assets to Columbia St. Mary's, Milwaukee. The purchase price is $42.5 million, above the hospital's $35 million construction cost because of competitive pressure and the value of equipment and inventory, said Leo Brideau, president and chief executive officer at Columbia St. Mary's. Brideau said the system is still determining how to use the facility but would not use it as a heart hospital. The hospital -- with 32 beds, three operating suites, three catheterization laboratories and a four-bed emergency room -- opened in October 2003 as a joint venture with 18 area physicians in a region now crowded with cardiac services. Thirteen heart programs compete in a metropolitan statistical area with about 1.6 million people, Brideau said. "It was inevitable one of them wouldn't succeed," he said. Earlier this year, Covenant Healthcare opened a 60-bed heart hospital in suburban Wauwatosa, also in partnership with physicians.
"At this point, we believe that it is in the best interest for MedCath and the hospital's physician partners for us to divest the facility," MedCath Chairman, President and CEO John Casey said in a news release. Following the sale, MedCath will have 12 heart hospitals, with majority interests in 11, in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Louisiana, New Mexico, Ohio, South Dakota and Texas. -- by Joseph Conn