Duke LifePoint, MPMC Ink Operating Agreement

John Commins, July 26, 2011

Duke LifePoint Healthcare and the board of directors at Maria Parham Medical Center on Monday signed a joint operating agreement for the 102-bed community hospital in Henderson, NC.

The deal, first announced Jan. 31, is expected to close within the next three months pending regulatory approval.

Duke LifePoint will own 80% of the hospital, while the retained assets and the proceeds from the deal will eliminate MPMC's debt. The remaining assets, approximately $30 million, will be used to create a locally governed charitable foundation that will fund new programs and services in the community. Duke LifePoint also will invest $45 million in capital improvements at the hospital over the next 10 years, the partners said.

David Ruggles, a spokesman for the private, nonprofit Maria Parham, said specific financial terms of the deal would not be made public until it is approved by the North Carolina Attorney General's Office.

"The MPMC board of directors evaluated potential partnerships for a year before selecting Duke LifePoint as our partner of choice," said Bev Tucker, MD, chairman of the MPMC Board of Directors. "Throughout our due diligence process, we have grown even more enthusiastic about this collaboration. Duke LifePoint brings unparalleled clinical and operational support to this community and can give MPMC the resources and expertise it needs to transform healthcare in Henderson and strengthen and grow our hospital."

To retain community control of the hospital, a 10-member board will be equally represented by Duke LifePoint and MPMC appointees. A separate hospital advisory board of physicians, community leaders, MPMC President/CEO Robert Singletary, and a representative from Duke LifePoint also will be established. 

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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