Baptist Health System, Birmingham, Ala., and Community Health Systems, Brentwood, Tenn., signed a letter of intent giving Community exclusive rights to negotiate a purchase of two of Baptist's Alabama hospitals -- 45-bed Baptist Cherokee, Centre, and 103-bed Baptist DeKalb Medical Center, Fort Payne. A definitive sales agreement is expected to be negotiated during the next 60 to 90 days, said Peter Selman, president of both hospitals. Baptist Health System has chosen to focus on the Birmingham hospital market and has shed several hospitals outside the area and some nonhospital assets, Selman said. The two hospitals for sale are located about 50 miles outside Chattanooga, Tenn., in contiguous rural counties in northeast Alabama, Selman said. A Community spokeswoman said the company declined to comment. Investor-owned Community has five hospitals in Alabama, among the 71 hospitals the company owns or operates. -- by Vince Galloro
Community negotiating to buy two Ala. hospitals
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