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HMA Chosen as Munroe Regional Medical Center's Suitor

After several weeks of negotiations, the board of trustees for Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Fla., has chosen Naples, Fla.-based Health Management Associates to lease and operate the publically owned, 421-bed hospital.

Health Management was pitted against Duke LifePoint Healthcare, a Brentwood, Tenn.-based joint venture between LifePoint Hospitals and Durham, N.C.-based Duke University Health System. Last week, Duke LifePoint increased its bid to operate Munroe Regional, and both Duke LifePoint and Health Management had bids of $200 million on the table.

Health Management's 40-year lease of Munroe Regional will be done in partnership with Shands Healthcare, the teaching medical center of the University of Florida in Gainesville and a clinical partner of Health Management. A Shands subsidiary will acquire up to 20 percent of Munroe Regional.

Health Management, Shands and Munroe Regional will now work toward a definitive agreement, which is expected to be signed sometime this year. Final financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

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