ACQUISITIONS: LEXINGTON MEDICAL CENTER TO STAY INDEPENDENT
South Carolina's Lexington Medical Center, "considered oneThis is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
of the hottest properties in the country by some would-be
buyers," is expected to tell the Lexington County Council June 27
that the center is not for sale, although they have received
offers from six potential buyers. Columbia THE STATE reports
that the county council had directed the hospital in March to
consider buyout offers after it pulled out of a proposed merger
with Richland Memorial Hospital and Baptist Medical Center.
FLYING SOLO: Lexington Board Chair William Coleman said
that while Richland and Baptist are going ahead with their
merger, "Lexington has the strength to remain independent." He
said, "We are in excellent shape, excellent. We have the
leadership, the financing, everything you need to make it on your
own." Coleman added however, that the hospital might "have to
have some partnerships," although those affiliations have yet to
INTEREST: One suitor which had expressed interest in
Lexington was Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., which owns half of
Providence Hospital, another area facility. THE STATE reports
that Columbia/HCA and Providence expressed interest in Lexington
last December, "four days after Lexington, Baptist and Richland
announced plans to merge," in an effort "to keep the three
hospitals from gaining an overwhelming share of the market."
Columbia/HCA's South Carolina representative Frank DeMarco said,
"Now we will be able to sit back (and) think about a long-term
basis. Lexington would make a great partner for managed care
purposes, and we will look at sharing our services."
OTHER SUITORS: STATE reports that the five other suitors
who expressed interest in Lexington were Quorum Health Group of
Tennessee, Tenet Healthcare Corp. of California, Universal Health
Services of Texas, OrNda of Tennessee and Health Management
Associates of Florida. DeMarco and representatives from the
other companies said that they are not surprised that Lexington
plans to reject their offers. Universal Vice President Richard
Wright said, "That's typical of a lot of community hospitals that
are trying to decide their future. They evaluate their options
and decide to stand still."
INDEPENDENCE: Lexington officials said that "remaining
independent is important" to the hospital because it is one of
the largest employers in the county and "retaining a local board
that can protect job security is a big issue." However, DeMarco
and Wright said that they doubt that Lexington will be able to
remain independent forever, noting that "bigger means survival"
in today's competitive industry (Page, 6/25).