Community Health selling four rural hospitals

Community Health Systems (CHS), one of the largest hospital chains in the U.S., has announced the sale of four rural hospitals as it tries to relieve some of its $15 billion debt.

The four hospitals being sold are the 95-bed Merit Health Gilmore Memorial in Amory, Mississippi; 112-bed Merit Health Batesville in Batesville, Mississippi; 181-bed Merit Health Northwest Mississippi in Clarksdale, Mississippi; and the 126-bed Highlands Regional Medical Center in Sebring, Florida.

“We are highly invested in the success of our affiliated hospitals, and we are considering how to best position them for the future,” said CHS Chairman and CEO Wayne T. Smith. “These four hospitals provide quality care and are important in each of their communities. They will benefit from alignment with a smaller organization specializing in the operation of rural hospitals. Divestiture of these assets advances our strategy to focus on a portfolio of larger hospitals and regional healthcare systems.”

The buyer is Clinton, Tennessee-based non-profit Curae Health. Curae currently operates three hospitals in Alabama, all acquired from LifePoint Health in 2015.

The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but CHS expects the transaction to close by the end of the year.

The company, which just two years ago was in a buying mode with its $7.6 billion purchase of Health Management Associates, had already shed 38 hospitals earlier this year by spinning them off into Quorom Health Corporation, raising around $1.2 billion.