Orlando Sentinel, July 1, 2011
Bert Fish Medical Center—the New Smyrna Beach hospital that spent the past year embroiled in a lawsuit over its merger with Florida Hospital—will part ways with the Winter Park-based hospital chain today and return to public ownership today. What happens next for the 112-bed hospital is uncertain, but experts in the hospital industry say that the Volusia County facility will likely have to put itself up for sale again. "These days, given their size, it would be extremely difficult to stand alone," said Michael Carroll, president of TriBrook Associates, a Tampa healthcare consultant. "They border some very competitive markets in Daytona Beach and Orlando." The separation—and divorce—of Bert Fish and Adventist Health System, the parent company of Florida Hospital, has been anticipated for months. Although the partnership started off amicably last May—with an agreement that Adventist would provide $24 million in capital improvements, pay off the hospital's debt and reduce tax rates for local residents—the union was fated from the beginning.