SONOMA: Sutter Health In Talks To Buy Columbia-Owned Hospital
Today's Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports that Sutter Health is in talks to buy Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp.'s Palm Drive Hospital in Sebastopol. The new talks are the result of Columbia's decision to halt negotiations with Tennessee-based Community Health Service, which had previously agreed to buy the facility (see CHL 5/14). Sutter Health already operates Sutter Medical Center in Sonoma County, and a spokesperson for the center said it is uncertain how Palm Drive "would fit into Sutter's" Sonoma operations. Spokesperson Sarah Miller said, "We've been in discussions with Columbia, but we have no deals made, no prices, no real plans on how a combined effort would look." Palm Drive CEO Jeff Frandsen said a sale to Sutter would not result in his facility being closed. "But there may be some services that we'd pick up that Sutter doesn't do and some services that would be transferred," he added.
Columbia's Divestiture Strategy
Columbia is looking to sell its Palm Drive and Healdsburg hospitals in Sonoma, a move company spokesperson Gary Koops said is "part of the corporation's reorganization to focus its concentration on markets outside of California." Sutter is only interested in buying Palm Drive, while Columbia "is in final negotiations with a group of county doctors" over the Healdsburg facility. Healdsburg General CEO Mary Schwind said Columbia has agreed to a letter of intent with the doctors group, which is known as Nuestra Hospital. Schwind said negotiations in that sale could "be completed by the end of October or beginning of November" (Norberg, 8/14). Click Healdsburg to read about Columbia's efforts to sell that hospital, or click here to read more about Columbia's reorganized business strategy.