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VOL. 38 | NO. 17 | Friday, April 25, 2014
Community Health Systems in talks to buy Natchez hospital
NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) - Natchez Regional Medical Center officials are in negotiations to sale the hospital to Community Health Systems.
Franklin-based Community Health Systems operates more than 200 hospitals in 29 states. Its hospitals are located in non-urban and mid-size markets. It operates 12 hospitals in Mississippi.
Adams County owns the hospital and the board of supervisors has ultimately approval over any sale.
The Natchez Democrat reports (http://bit.ly/1rwT0Wc) the Natchez hospital confirmed Friday in a news release that Community Health is the potential buyer.
The board of supervisors has signed a letter of intent with Community Health. A letter of intent is a nonbinding agreement between parties acknowledging negotiations. The next step in the sale process will be for the two parties to agree to an asset purchase agreement, which is binding.
Healthcare Management Partners Chief Executive Officer Scott Phillips, who is the lead negotiator for the Natchez hospital, said the asset purchase agreement negotiations could be finalized in two to three days.
"We would hope to have it ready for the supervisors by (May 5). The buyer may or may not be ready to sign at that time based on whether or not they are done with their due diligence."
The content of the letter of intent, which includes a purchase price, has not been made public.
Phillips said once the asset purchase agreement is finalized, it will be taken to the hospital's board of trustees for review.
If the supervisors approve the asset purchase agreement, it will be made public and the sale process will start with the publication of a legal notice saying the hospital will be for auction.
If no petition arises, the hospital can be placed for auction after 30 days.
If no other company beats Community Health's negotiated price, the sale is over.
Phillips said Community Health can bid higher if another company placed a better bid.
When the document is finalized, Phillips said the hospital will send out notices to 91 health care systems that had previously been notified of the sale offering that the auction will be taking place.
The Natchez hospital opened in 1960 as Jefferson Davis Memorial Hospital. Its $2.4 million construction was underwritten by an $800,000 local contribution and state and federal funds.