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CHS to Sell Two OK Hospitals to Ardent Subsidiary

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, June 30, 2011

Community Health Systems has executed a definitive agreement to sell two of its five Oklahoma hospitals to a subsidiary of Nashville-based Ardent Health Services.

The 180-bed SouthCrest Hospital in Tulsa and the 89-bed Claremore Regional Hospital in Claremore were are being sold to Tulsa-based Hillcrest HealthCare System. Privately held Ardent initiated the deal as part of an expansion of its four-hospital Hillcrest system.

When the transaction is complete, Hillcrest will comprise six hospitals with about 1,200 licensed beds and 1,100 physicians. The deal will add more than 1,100 employees to the HHS fold, bringing the health system to about 5,000 employees.

The acquisition is expected to increase Ardent's market strength in the southern part of Tulsa County.

Ardent Health Services acquired Hillcrest HealthCare System in 2004 and has invested more than $262 million in facilities and equipment since then. In a telephone conversation, Kevin Gwin, vice president of communications for Ardent, said once the acquisition receives regulatory approval and is finalized, a transition plan will be put in place to review how hospital services might change. He declined to comment on any future acquisitions planned by Ardent that might involve Community Health Systems or others.

Ardent Health Services includes a multi-specialty physician group, a 220,000 member health plan, a medical lab and retail pharmacies. It owns two health systems, Lovelace Health System in Albuquerque,  and Hillcrest HealthCare System in Tulsa. The acquisition will bring to 10 the number of hospitals owned by Ardent subsidiaries.

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