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Houston County Courier - Local News

Copyright 2012 - Polk County Publishing Company

Corporation professes ‘sweet spot’ for small community hospitals
Houston County Courier

By Jenna Duncan News Editor There currently are six contenders to take over the lease of the Houston County Hospital District (HCHD) facilities when ETMC’s contract expires in 2015. The six organizations all specialize in community hospitals, and have responded to the HCHD’s Request for Proposal (RFP), though the response documents have not been made public. Community Health Corporation, which responded to the RFP, manages Memorial Medical Center - Lufkin and is an organization that owns, manages and consults community hospitals. They currently operate five hospitals, one continued care hospital and manage 10 hospitals, primarily in Texas. “Any time a hospital is looking for a management partner, or in this situation a leasing partner, we feel like we have a lot of skills we could bring to help them operate as best as we can,” spokeswoman Cindy Matthews said in an interview. with the Houston County Courier. They have two hospitals that are in similar situations to HCHD, where they lease and operate the facility, Yoakum Community Hospital and Artesia General Hospital in New Mexico. Although Matthews wou-ld not go into details of the her company’s response to the RFP, she said the document shows that CHC has successful hospitals in similar scenarios, and provided some basics of a case study on how the partnerships have worked. The RFP response also explains the company’s capabilities and conveys interest in the future plans of the hospital. In the two acquisitions that are similar to HCHD, Matthews said the company goes in and evaluates what the hospitals need and strengths that already exist. “Any time we have a new relationship, we go in and we visit with the physicians and the staff and we really look and say what are the really great things happening and what are the areas we can help beef up,” she said. She said the needs can range from problems with billing to needing to offer more services. The company, which was founded in 1996 and operates out of Plano, only works with not-for-profit or community-owned hospitals, and they have a “sweet spot” for smaller community hospitals, Matthews said. “We love communities like Crockett,” she said. “We’ve had a great relationship with Memorial in Lufkin, and we’d love the opportunity to talk with (HCHD) if that’s the direction they’re choosing to go.” Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics, a not-for-profit integrated health care network, also submit ted a response to the RFP for the facilities in Crockett. John Moore, the organization’s public information offi cer, de- clined to comment on the submitted plans and said infor- mation on the organization is available online. Founded in 1937 and based out of Tyler, Trinity Mother Frances operates fi ve hospitals, 16 clinics and four urgent care facilities in East Texas. The organization started with the Mother Frances Hospital - Tyler, and was the fi rst hos- pital in the area. The facility now has 404 beds and was named to the 2012 Thomas Reuters 100 top hospitals in the country for the fourth time in fi ve years. “Our organization is committed to providing medical care, education and service to communities in a variety of ways, from free education, screenings and health fairs to nationally recognized programs such as the FamilyCARE Center, which was created to fi ll an unmet healthcare need for underserved women and children in the region,” the website states. The website does not have information on partnerships or acquisitions. Community Health Systems also submitted a response to the hospital district’s RFP, but representatives did not re- spond to several requests from the Houston County Courier for comment. The organization is based outside of Nashville, TN and owns, operates or leases 135 hospitals in 29 states, accord- ing to its website. In more than 55 percent of their markets, the hospital is the only facility in the community. “With the belief that community hospitals often suffer from a lack of capital and have diffi culty recruiting physi- cians and retaining high levels of management expertise, the company has assisted local hospitals in meeting these challenges and has proven itself to be an established leader in this industry segment,” the website states. The company began in 1985, and became public in 2000. This year, it was ranked 198 on the Fortune list of top 500 U.S. companies. According to the website, once they acquire a hospital, it has access to capital in order to upgrade technology, buy new equipment and add services. “Industry analysts say time and again that CHS’ strategy is simple but effective,” the website states. “The organiza- tion’s plan for integrating and improving the fi nancial and operating performance of newly acquired hospitals, and more importantly, developing strong community relations, has continued to be a distinct competitive advantage for CHS.”


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