On Wednesday, both the Chatham County Hospital Authority and the Memorial University Medical Center boards met. After quickly going into executive sessions, the MUMC meeting reconvened with a blockbuster announcement.
Nashville based Hospital Corporation of America agreed to buy out Memorial University Medical Center for the price of $710 million.
Curtis Lewis is the MUMC chairman. He said this is essentially the sale of the hospital.
“We have been working behind the scenes on this with the authority since last summer,” said Lewis.
Since the Novant Healthcare deal fell through in May 2016, hospital officials have always said the search for a strategic partner was a priority. This however, is not a partnership.
According to the Letter of Intent, which was approved by both the Hospital Authority and the board of MUMC, HCA has agreed to pay $710 million. Out of that, $430 million will be pay for the MUMC assets and liabilities. HCA will also fund $280 million over the next 10 years. Then, $100 million will be allocated for non-routine capital expenditures and $180 million for routine capital expenditures.
Dr. Frank Rossiter, the Chairman for the Hospital Authority, said critical services will remain in place and have been part of the negotiations from the onset dating back one year.
“We are preserving Trauma One, we are preserving the Neo-natal NICU there, and we are preserving the medical education program,” said Rossiter.
Lewis went on to say that the impact to the community is far reaching and will preserve the mission of MUMC.
“Providing the services to the community, the indigents, everybody in the community, so that was our major goal going forward and I think we are certainly achieving that with this transaction,” said Lewis.
Rossiter was quick to point out that HCA standards will be something adopted by the hospital.
“Staff obviously needs to be supported. There may be a upper level notch or two that if they don't meet the standards of HCA, they may get released,” said Rossiter.
He and Lewis went on to say that they are trying to move forward as fast as possible, especially since MUMC has had its share of financial distress.
“We are going into a phase now where they (HCA) will do their due diligence, then this has to be presented to the Attorney General of the state and get approval there,” said Rossiter.
Both chairmen were very optimistic about the future of the hospital, Rossiter went further with a message to the community.
“Memorial is here and is going to be here for a very long time,” said Rossiter.
Memorial Health and HCA’s South Atlantic division will continue exclusive discussions with the ultimate intent to execute an agreement before the end of 2017.