For many in the Savannah area and surrounding counties, the name HCA may soon become important to them. HCA is the company named in the proposed buy out of Memorial Health. The board of Memorial Health along with the Chatham County Hospital Authority have signed a “letter of intent” outlining a proposed agreement to sell the hospital’s property and assets for $430 million. In addition, the Letter of Intent outlines another $280 million in spending on capital projects and improvements ($710 total.)
HCA is based in Nashville and currently one of the largest healthcare providers in the nation. It owns 171 hospitals (8 of them are in Georgia.) We reached out to the company for some comment and received this statement from Hugh Tappan, HCA South Atlantic Division President.
“We are delighted by this opportunity to further our discussions with Memorial Health, which has a proud tradition of caring for communities in southeast Georgia and parts of South Carolina for more than 60 years. The work that they have done at Memorial University Medical Center as a Level I trauma center, teaching hospital, children’s hospital and elite specialty center provide remarkable care for this entire region. We look forward to working more closely with local physicians, caregivers and community leaders to better understand and support their efforts to provide sustainable, high-quality services that meet the needs of this growing region,” said Tappan.
Memorial is one of the area’s largest employers with an estimated 5,000 employees. The Letter of Intent does say that “HCA expects to offer employment to all of the employees of the System (other than senior management personnel) at no less than such employees’ current wage or salary level.” The letter does go on to say that whether an individual employee is hired or not would depend on issues involving HCA’s policies and procedures.
The Letter of Intent also stipulates that critical safety net services by provided by Memorial will continue for 10 years and hopefully beyond. “We’ve got guarantees for our strategic services,” said Frank Rossiter, head of the Chatham County Hospital Authority.
Rossiter also indicated the planned sale should be “reassurance to the hospital staff as well as to the community that Memorial is here and is going to be here for a long long time.”
A lot has to happen before the sale would become final. HCA now has 60 days for what’s known as “due diligence” which basically means the company will look over Memorial’s financials as well as many other details of how the hospital is run to see if it wants to move forward. If so, a number of other steps need to be taken, including getting approval from the State of Georgia (because the Authority is involved in the sale.) If things do move forward, a sale might be final by the fall.
Here are more facts about HCA (as provided by the company’s Public Affairs department)
• More than three-quarters of HCA hospitals—106 HCA hospitals—are on The Joint Commission’s (TJC) list of top performers on Key Quality Measures compared to less than one-third of all other TJC-accredited hospitals
• Sarah Cannon, the global cancer institute of HCA, offers hundreds of clinical trials each year
• HCA gives back and invests in the communities we serve:
o $2.8 billion to expand or bring new services to the communities we serve in 2016
o $2.8 billion spent on charity care, uninsured discounts and other uncompensated care in 2016
o $23.2 million in cash donations to charitable organizations in 2016
• HCA has been named one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” for eight years in a row
• HCA affiliates deliver healthcare services in approximately 150 languages and dialects
• HCA has a comprehensive environmental sustainability program to promote energy and water conservation and increase recycling and environmentally conscious purchasing