Vanguard Health Systems, Nashville, said it has purchased 77 acres in south Mesa, Ariz., near Phoenix, for a new healthcare development, confirming published reports, but said it has not decided whether to build a hospital on the site. Vanguard wants some healthcare services at the location, such as physician offices or outpatient services, and the property eventually could include a hospital, said Keith Pitts, Vanguard's vice chairman and executive vice president. Managed-care organizations have asked Vanguard's local system to provide services in the area, he said. The property is located a half-mile from a hospital that Phoenix-based Banner Health System plans to open in 2007.
Separately, LifePoint Hospitals, Brentwood, Tenn., said it has a definitive agreement for a 30-year lease to operate 90-bed Wythe County Community Hospital, Wytheville, Va. LifePoint sued the hospital and not-for-profit Carilion Health System, Roanoke, Va., earlier this year when Carilion tried to purchase the hospital, even though LifePoint had an agreement to buy the hospital for $56 million. The federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Roanoke was settled earlier this month. After its acquisition of Province Healthcare Co. earlier this month, LifePoint owns or operates 50 hospitals. -- by Vince Galloro