For-profit LifePoint snapping up troubled nonprofit hospitals

LifePoint Hospitals Inc., in Brentwood, Tenn., has completed the acquisition of a nonprofit community hospital in Kentucky and has put in a $145 million bid for a Tennessee-based nonprofit health system. With the completed acquisition, LifePoint now has 48 hospitals in 17 states and is the sole provider in 45 of its 48 markets, said Jeffrey Sherman, executive vice president and CFO, speaking May 4 at the Deutsche Bank Securities Health Care Conference. Both acquisitions are in line with LifePoint's strategy of maintaining "a nonurban focus while targeting hospitals in slightly larger, faster-growing markets," he said.

In the Kentucky acquisition, LifePoint purchased Clark Regional Medical Center (CRMC) in Winchester. LifePoint will replace the current 100-bed CRMC facility with a $60 million state-of-the-art facility. In the pending Tennessee acquisition, LifePoint has agreed to purchase Gallatin, Tenn.-based Sumner Regional Health Systems (SRHS), a three-market hospital system, including flagship 155-bed hospital Sumner Regional Medical Center, that serves 11 counties in Tennessee. In addition to the sales price, LifePoint plans to invest more than $60 million in annual capital spending in Sumner over the next 10 years, as well as offering a 2.5 percent merit salary raise to system employees that stay on post-sale, reports the Nashville Business Journal.

Sumner's board chose the LifePoint bid over nine other purchase offers, reports the Tennessean. However, Sumner filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on April 30, so the sale is subject to court approval. LifePoint expects the purchase to close this summer if it wins approval. LifePoint already has six hospitals in Tennessee.

LifePoint reported first-quarter net income for fiscal year 2010 (Q1 2010) of $42.9 million, or 79 cents per diluted share, compared to $38.4 million, or 72 cents per share, for the year-ago quarter. Revenues for Q1 2010 came in at $786.2 million, an increase of 6.9 percent over the $735.5 million posted in Q1 2009.

To learn more:
- read this Nashville Business Journal article
- read this article from The Tennessean
- read these LifePoint press releases: release 1, release 2, release 3
- view the Deutsche Bank Securities Health Care Conference webcast