Merger activity among for-profit chains picked up as the year ended with four companies unveiling agreements to buy hospitals in December.
Health Management Associates, Naples, Fla., said on Dec. 27, 2005, it had agreed to purchase 142-bed St. Joseph Hospital, Augusta, Ga., from Ascension Health, St. Louis, for undisclosed terms. The deal is subject to the approval of the Georgia attorney general's office. The purchase agreement is the third announced by HMA since Oct. 1, 2005. The company also has closed on one hospital purchase during the quarter, giving it 58 hospitals in 16 states, as well as three hospitals in the pending deals.
Meanwhile, during the previous week, HCA, Nashville, said it had agreed to buy 284-bed Tennessee Christian Medical Center, with campuses in Madison and Portland, Tenn., from Adventist Health System, Winter Park, Fla., for undisclosed terms. HCA expects to close the deal in January 2006. The acquisition comes on the heels of a 10-year expansionary phase at the for-profit giant (Dec. 19, 2005, p. 6). Larry Kloess, president of HCA's TriStar Health System, said in a news release that the campuses complement TriStar's 12 Tennessee hospitals.
Universal Health Services, King of Prussia, Pa., said toward the end of December it acquired two behavioral health facilities in Orem, Utah, and Casper, Wyo., for a total of $30 million and promoted Debra Osteen, president of its behavioral health division, to senior vice president of the company. Universal runs 105 behavioral health facilities, which include 48 hospitals, 31 residential treatment centers and various other facilities. The company also operates 24 acute-care hospitals.
Finally, for-profit Pacer Health Corp., Miami, said in early December that it had acquired a majority interest in 35-bed Southpark Community Hospital, Lafayette, La. The hospital's 41 investors, including 37 physicians, will retain a minority stake. Terms were not disclosed. Pacer will own at least 60% of the full-service hospital, and the system's stake could grow as it invests more in the facility.