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Quorum refuses to negotiate sale of soon-to-shutter hospital, potential buyer says

A potential buyer says Brentwood, Tenn.-based Quorum Health refuses to negotiate a sale of MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island, Ill., which Quorum plans to close in September, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Quorum announced in June that it filed an application with the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board to close the 314-bed hospital. Although the closure is still pending review, Quorum said it plans to close the hospital by Sept. 30.

In a letter to staff announcing the closure date, MetroSouth CEO John Walsh said officials hadn't found an "organization with the resources willing to sign a binding agreement" to take over the hospital. However, Seth Guterman, MD, president of MSMC Management, has been trying to finalize a deal to buy the hospital for months, he wrote in a letter to the Chicago Sun-Times.

"We agreed upon the ultimate purchase price with Quorum Health and secured the financing to acquire the hospital," he said. Dr. Gutterman, who is also the president of Oak Brook, Ill.-based management company People's Choice Hospital, claims the deal fell through after Quorum suddenly demanded more money, including a nonrefundable deposit of $1 million.

In an emailed statement, Quorum said no parties have shown interest in taking over the hospital "on acceptable terms." 

"We can confirm we have had conversations with numerous third parties about transferring the hospital property and assets. Simply put, we have worked to give the hospital away to a qualified operator for several months. While we cannot disclose the details of any of our conversations due to a confidentiality agreement, we can confirm we have not been able to agree to terms with any buyer willing to commit to a binding transaction that would continue to operate MetroSouth," Quorum said.

"We had hoped that, in June, after filing our application with the Illinois Health Facilities Review Board, we would receive additional interest from someone willing to commit to take the hospital and its assets on acceptable terms. However, that has not been the case. Closing MetroSouth is a difficult decision and certainly not one taken lightly."

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