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Blue Island’s MetroSouth Medical Center sold

Community Health Systems parent MetroSouth Medical Center Blue Islplans buy fellow hospital operator Health Management Associates for about $3.9 billion.

Community Health Systems, the parent of MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island, plans to buy fellow hospital operator Health Management Associates for about $3.9 billion. | Sun-Times file photo

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Updated: January 14, 2012 8:08AM



The owners of MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island have a deal to sell the hospital to a subsidiary of Community Health Systems Inc.

Falcon Investors and Transition Healthcare Co. said the sale would preserve the hospital’s 1,200 jobs, and that Community will invest $20 million in upgrades at the hospital.

The sale price wasn’t being disclosed, and the sale is tentatively scheduled to close at the end of February. Community would need approval from state regulators.

Community operates more than 130 hospitals in 29 states, including seven in Illinois. The only Chicago-area hospital it owns is Vista Medical Center in Waukegan.

Falcon and Transition Healthcare bought the former St. Francis Hospital in 2008 after the hospital’s prior owners threatened to shut its doors due to large operating losses.

“The leadership of MSMC engaged in a thoughtful process to ensure the best possible future for our hospital and determined that affiliating with a larger organization offered our greatest opportunity for long-term success and growth,” Falcon Investors chief executive officer David Reis said in a news release.

Community will hire all MetroSouth’s active employees who are in good standing at the time the sale is completed, the companies said. The new owner doesn’t plan to discontinue any of the current services at MetroSouth.

Falcon and Transition had received “several” offers from hospital operators to buy MetroSouth, but that Community’s was deemed to be superior, Dr. Enrique Beckmann, MetroSouth’s chief executive, said. Beckmann is expected to remain CEO once the sale is completed.

Falcon and Transition had paid $1 to buy the hospital from SSM Health Care, which in April 2008 said it wold close the Blue Island facility due to ongoing financial losses.

Beckman said that selling the hospital to Community “means securing a long-term future for MetroSouth, its employees, its patients and the communities it serves.”

Becoming part of a larger hospital operator was driven mainly by coming changes in health care, particularly in the area of insurance reimbursement, he said. Because of its size — $13 billion in revenue last year — Community can better negotiate reimbursement deals with insurers, Beckmann said.

Falcon and Transition Healthcare operate MetroSouth through a privately-held affiliate, MSMC Investors, while Community is publicly traded.



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