HCA, Nashville, said it will continue its year-old strategy of expanding outpatient services and announced that so far this year the strategy had resulted in acquisitions or other capital investments worth a total of $24 million. The for-profit hospital chain said it plans to buy or build up to 10 additional surgery centers and up to 25 additional imaging centers by 2006. HCA said this year it bought an imaging center in Salt Lake City; majority stakes in an endoscopy center in Plano, Texas, and in companies operating imaging centers in Denver and two Florida cities, Deltona and Orange City; and minority stakes in imaging centers in Austin, Texas, and Thousand Oaks, Calif. The company said it also opened or bought five ambulatory surgery centers and formed or restructured partnerships with five surgery centers operated by hospitals, bringing its total number of surgery centers to 91.
In a news release, Marilyn Tavenner, who in January was named president of HCA's newly formed Outpatient Services Group, said, "We have focused on a strategy designed to increase competitiveness and quality of hospital-based outpatient services. At the same time, we are working with existing and potential partners to grow freestanding outpatient centers." -- by Mark Taylor