More on Capital Finance

HMA aims to acquire seven hospitals

Naples, Fla.-based Health Management Associates is negotiating the acquisition of seven hospitals from Mercy Health Partners - Tennessee, a subsidiary of Catholic Health Partners.

[See also: Hospital M&A activity jumped 33 percent in 2010.]

“I believe that Health Management Associates is an extraordinary match for Mercy Health Partners,” said Jeffrey Ashin, Mercy’s president and CEO in a letter to staff.

The letter said Health Management Associates was selected as its potential purchaser because HMA understands and is committed to Mercy’s mission and values; recognizes and appreciates Mercy’s history; has a track record of having good relations with physicians and is committed to excellent physician relationships; has an organizational philosophy which values local leadership; and is committed to making capital investments.

While Mercy’s hospitals will become for-profit, and will change names, they “will continue to follow charity care policies that are at least as favorable to indigent patients as the policies currently in place.”

The hospitals will no longer have an official connection to the Sisters of Mercy or the Catholic Church but will retain chaplaincy programs and the local sisters have been invited to continue to serve at the hospitals in their current capacities. Many of the hospitals’ current traditions and values will remain unchanged, including its ban on direct abortion and euthanasia services.

HMA operates 60 hospitals in non-urban communities throughout the United States.

The two organizations believe the transaction will be complete by the fall, following due diligence, review and approval from Catholic Health Partners and regulatory and canonical approvals.