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Ascension to acquire controlling interest 323-bed Florida hospital

Nashville, Tenn.-based Ardent Health Services signed a letter of intent to sell its interest in a 323-bed Florida hospital to Pensacola, Fla.-based Sacred Heart Health System, part of St. Louis-based Ascension.

Under the deal, Ascension will acquire 323-bed Bay Medical Sacred Heart, including its physician clinic operations in Panama City, Fla., and Bay County, Fla.

Bay Medical was formed through a joint venture between Ardent and Sacred Heart. The hospital joins the three other hospitals in the Sacred Heart system.

"We have engaged in a planning process with Ascension to determine the best possible path forward for Bay Medical. It became evident that becoming a wholly owned not-for-profit subsidiary of Ascension Sacred Heart Health System will allow appropriate matching of services to the needs of the post-hurricane community. Additionally, it affords regionalization of certain services such as trauma and heart care," an Ardent executive said in a Nov. 27 news release obtained by Becker's Hospital Review.

Bay Medical was one of several hospitals damaged by Hurricane Michael, which hit the U.S. coastline in October. Patients were transferred by air and ground ambulance to other Ascension hospitals in the area, and those facilities continue to accept Bay Medical emergency room patients as the hospital works to rebuild and restore its inpatient services in stages.

The deal is subject to customary regulatory review.

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