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Saint Francis Hospital Chooses Westchester Medical Center as Buyer

Saint Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., has filed papers with its bankruptcy court, choosing Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, N.Y., as its acquirer, according to a Poughkeepsie Journal report.

In December, Saint Francis filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The 333-bed hospital's debt has ballooned during the past few years, due in part to health IT costs and uncollectable bills.

However, the 643-bed Westchester was not the original buyer. Health Quest, a three-hospital system based in LaGrangeville, N.Y., emerged as the primary suitor and offered to buy Saint Francis for $40 million shortly after the hospital filed for bankruptcy.

Health Quest officials told the Poughkeepsie Journal they have decided "not to participate" further in the Saint Francis acquisition process. Within Saint Francis' bankruptcy document, the hospital says Westchester put in a higher bid and would keep more of the hospital intact, according to the report.

In addition, the documents said the Federal Trade Commission would be more likely to approve the Westchester deal. If Health Quest won the bid, Saint Francis likely would have merged with Health Quest's Vassar Brothers Medical Center, a 365-bed hospital located two miles south of Saint Francis in Poughkeepsie.

A timeline for next steps was not disclosed. In a statement provided to the newspaper, Health Quest officials said: "It is important to note that Health Quest's involvement, substantial financial commitment and comprehensive plan for saving Saint Francis were responsible for keeping the hospital open in the days and weeks since its declaration of bankruptcy."

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