HCA, Nashville, said it will end inpatient services at 68-bed Putnam General Hospital, Hurricane, W.Va., effective Aug. 29, and will negotiate with state regulators to convert the building to an urgent-care center. Putnam General gained notoriety in 2004 when patients filed lawsuits against the hospital and a physician who practiced there, accusing him of performing unnecessary orthopedic procedures. HCA has been trying to sell Putnam General for more than a year. LifePoint Hospitals, Brentwood, Tenn., agreed to purchase Putnam General as part of a five-hospital, $330 million deal announced in July 2005. Plaintiffs' lawyers unsuccessfully tried to block the sale, but Putnam General's deteriorating financial condition ultimately led to its exclusion from a renegotiated four-hospital deal. LifePoint completed the $254 million purchase July 1. HCA, which owns or operates 176 hospitals, agreed last week to a $33 billion leveraged buyout by private equity groups, the founding Frist family and company management. -- by Vince Galloro
HCA to close inpatient care at troubled W.Va. hospital
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