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Steward sells Pennsylvania hospital, saving closure

Bethlehem, Pa.-based St. Luke's University Health Network will acquire Easton (Pa.) Hospital from Dallas-based Steward Health Care. The acquisition will keep the 125-year-old hospital open. 

Steward said in early May that it would close Easton Hospital and lay off its 649 workers in June if it was unable to reach an agreement to sell the facility. 

The facility has faced financial challenges for years and those challenges were worsened when it canceled surgeries in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, St. Luke's said in its June 3 news release that it believes the acquisition is the right thing to do in spite of the financial challenges. 

Under the sale agreement, Steward will transfer the ownership of Easton Hospital to St. Luke's on July 1. 

"Integrating an existing hospital into a health network can be challenging, even during the best of times, let alone during a global pandemic. However, St. Luke’s has always welcomed challenges," said Richard Anderson, president and CEO of St. Luke’s.

Adding Easton Hospital will make St. Luke's an academic health network with 12 hospitals and more than 325 outpatient sites. 

"Easton Hospital was struggling when Steward Health Care acquired the facility in 2017. After substantial investment to Easton Hospital, and cumulative losses of nearly $140 million to keep Easton Hospital open for the community, Steward made the decision to initiate a sales process – well before the arrival of COVID-19. We are pleased that St. Luke’s has agreed to purchase Easton Hospital so that the community will continue to receive the quality, compassionate care that Easton has provided for over 125 years," Steward said in a statement to Becker's Hospital Review.

Editor's Note: This article was updated at 9:58 a.m. June 4 to include a statement from Steward.

More articles on healthcare industry transactions: 
Novant offers $5B+ bid for North Carolina hospital
Hospital M&A update: 9 recent deals
West Virginia system joins Allegheny Health's network, GPO

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