KINGSPORT, Tenn.—Wellmont Health System, Kingsport, said it has completed a five-year, $114 million renovation of 333-bed Wellmont Holston Valley Medical Center, Kingsport. Nearly 220,000 square feet were remodeled or added to the hospital. Major patient-care projects included: a new emergency department with three major trauma rooms, 10 minor trauma rooms and 19 acute-care rooms; renovated operating rooms and related spaces on the fourth floor; a new intensive-care unit on the fifth floor, with 36 beds, a family waiting area and support offices. Other major projects include a four-story parking garage and new boilers and chillers to provide heat and air conditioning more efficiently.
Regionals: Wellmonth Health completes five-year renovation and other news
NASHVILLE—The healthcare services industry directly employs more than 113,000 people and adds more than $7.6 billion annually to the economic activity in the Nashville-area, according to a recent study commissioned by the Nashville Health Care Council. The Nashville Metropolitan Statistical Area, which consists of 13 counties in Middle Tennessee, boasts 56 healthcare company headquarters and offices for more than 250 healthcare companies. More than 300 professional service firms, in fields such as architecture, accounting and law, have locations in the 13-county region. The study was conducted by the Business and Economic Research Center at Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro.
PLANO, Texas—LHP Hospital Group, Plano, said it plans to build a $100 million, 75-bed hospital in either Killeen or Harker Heights, Texas. LHP's usual strategy is to form joint ventures with not-for-profit systems. For now, LHP does not have a partner for this project, and while it is open to finding a partner, the project will go forward even without one because of the explosive growth forecast for that area, LHP spokeswoman Pat Ball said. LHP plans to begin work in the fourth quarter of this year and open the hospital in the second quarter of 2012. Privately held LHP operates hospital joint ventures in Pocatello, Idaho, and Sherman, Texas, and has letters of intent for two other joint ventures.
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn.—Mountain States Health Alliance said its $122 million new hospital, Franklin Woods Community Hospital, Johnson City, is scheduled to open to patients on July 12. The 80-bed hospital replaces two facilities, 72-bed North Side Hospital, Johnson City, and 36-bed Johnson City Specialty Hospital, which closed on July 1. The hospital includes a 22-room emergency department, 20 beds dedicated to women's and children's services, and a diagnostic services area with two CT scanners among other equipment. Mountain States, also based in Johnson City, is applying for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design Silver certification of the hospital from the U.S. Green Building Council. The hospital's floors are made of cork, and the lobby includes large glass walls and trees growing indoors. Behind the hospital is a dense forest that will be untouched, and the remainder of the site includes walking paths, healing gardens and picnic tables.
ATLANTA—Four-hospital Piedmont Healthcare and St. Joseph's Health System have formally ended partnership talks. In a joint statement, the two Atlanta-based healthcare systems said they were unable to reach a consensus on how a new organization would be structured. In a letter of intent signed in April, Piedmont and St. Joseph's agreed to enter into discussions to create a joint operating company. The 90-day discussion period concluded, but the two systems could not successfully iron out the details of the partnership, said Nina Day, Piedmont's vice president of marketing and public relations. “It was an amicable discussion,” Day said. “We went into it saying the new company would be majority-owned and managed by Piedmont, but in the end, we just couldn't reach an agreement.” Piedmont is still in discussions to partner with 200-bed Henry Medical Center, Stockbridge, Ga., and will also redirect its attention toward other opportunities, Day added. “We're certainly open to other partnerships, but it has to be the right fit,” she said.
NASHVILLE—A judge in U.S. Bankruptcy Court last month approved the sale of tax-exempt Sumner Regional Health Systems, Gallatin, Tenn., to investor-owned LifePoint Hospitals, Brentwood, Tenn., court records show. LifePoint agreed in April to pay $154.1 million in cash for the Sumner system and also to spend at least $60 million on capital projects on its four hospitals. No other bidders emerged during the bankruptcy auction proceedings. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Marian Harrison also turned down objections to the sale made by Sumner County, Tenn. The county leased the flagship Sumner Regional Medical Center and other property to the Sumner Regional system in 1994, and then the lease was terminated in 2004 and the real property conveyed to the Sumner Regional system in 2004, but neither of these agreements gives the county the right to halt the sale, according to Harrison's opinion. The county may have a claim on the proceeds, Harrison wrote. Earlier in June, the Federal Trade Commission had granted antitrust clearance to the deal. The Tennessee attorney general's approval is still required to close the deal, Harrison wrote.
MIAMI—HCA, Nashville, said last month it has signed a letter of intent to purchase 357-bed Mercy Hospital, Miami, from Catholic Health East, Newtown Square, Pa. Terms were not disclosed. The deal still requires a definitive agreement and regulatory approvals in order to close, HCA said. The hospital would continue to be operated as a Catholic hospital and would keep its name under HCA's ownership, according to Manuel Anton, a physician who became president and CEO of Mercy Hospital in May. The sale will allow Mercy to become part of a larger regional system, Anton said in a news release. Mercy Hospital would become part of HCA's 12-hospital East Florida division, which includes nine hospitals in Broward, Dade and Palm Beach counties, which make up greater Miami. Catholic Health East's only other hospital in the area is 436-bed Holy Cross Hospital, Fort Lauderdale.
NAPLES, Fla.—Health Management Associates said it completed its acquisition of a 60% interest in three rural Florida hospitals owned by Shands HealthCare, Gainesville, Fla., on July 1. HMA paid $21.5 million. The hospitals will be operated as joint ventures, with Shands retaining a 40% ownership stake in each hospital. Governance on each hospital will be split 50-50 between the two systems. The hospitals had net revenue of $98 million combined for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2009, and lost a collective $3.5 million for fiscal 2009, according to a bond disclosure. For the first nine months of fiscal 2010, the hospitals lost nearly $6 million, according to another bond disclosure. When the deal was announced in May, Shands said it doesn't have the expertise with rural hospitals or the capital to enable the hospitals to thrive. Shands retains full ownership of its large medical centers in Gainesville and Jacksonville, Fla.
DALLAS—Christus Health named Ernie Sadau to succeed President and CEO Thomas Royer, who will step down effective June 30, 2011, the system announced. Sadau, 49, Christus Health's senior vice president and chief operating officer, joined the Dallas-based system four years ago from Adventist Health, where he was president and CEO of Adventist Midwest Health, Hinsdale, Ill. Royer, 69, became chief executive of Christus in September 1999. Royer has been named four times to sister publication Modern Physician's 50 Most Powerful Physician Executives in Healthcare, most recently in 2008. He will continue to serve in healthcare, according to the news release announcing his decision to step down. No date has been set for Sadau to become Christus Health's top executive. According to the release, the switch will “be effective after a reasonable transition time.” Sadau was a 2000 Modern Healthcare Up & Comer.
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