The Tennessee Baptist Convention has authorized its executive committee to approve a sale or joint venture for the Baptist Health System of East Tennessee, Knoxville, if the system chooses to pursue such a deal, the health system said. Baptist has been studying its options since September 2005 and should have a decision on its future within three to five weeks, said Warren Payne, who recently became president and chief executive officer of the health system. The system is still generating about $1 million in cash flow per month, Payne said, but after paying service on about $200 million in debt, there is not enough left over to replace and upgrade capital equipment at the system's four hospitals. The convention's authorization allows a deal to move forward in the event that one is completed before the next meeting of representatives of the 2,000 churches that make up the convention, Payne said. -- by Vince Galloro
Move opens door to Baptist Health sale, joint venture
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