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State approves sale of CHS-owned NJ hospital to Prime Healthcare

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State officials unanimously voted to recommend the sale of The Memorial Hospital of Salem (N.J.) County to Ontario, Calif.-based Prime Healthcare Services, according to NJ.com.

Under the state's health planning board's recommendation, Prime Healthcare must adhere to a number of stipulations to garner the state's full approval. Among them, Prime Healthcare must operate MHSC as a general hospital for at least five years, retaining "all clinical services currently offered to…patients," according to the article.

Hospital nurses, currently involved in contract negotiations with the hospital, also reportedly asked the acquiring health system recognize their demands. A spokesperson for Prime Healthcare said the health system will work with the nurses "to craft an agreement as soon as possible," according to the article.

The deal is under the review of state health commissioner Cathleen Bennett, who has 120 days to approve the proposed deal.

Prime Healthcare officials said they hope to close the deal by May.

If approved, the sale would mark the end of Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems' 15-year ownership of the hospital, which the health system acquired in 2002 for $35 million. CHS plans to sell the hospital to Prime Healthcare for roughly half the value, or $15 million, according to the article.

MHSC and Prime Healthcare reported the potential acquisition agreement in December 2015.

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