Charlotte, NC firm on a hospital hunt

While Hospital Partners of America isn't a giant as of yet, it's made a promising beginning. Over the past years or so, the upstart hospital operator has leased or acquired a total of seven hospitals, including a $125 million deal to acquire a Houston facility. The company now operates six hospitals in Texas and one in California, and has plans to get much bigger. (How Hospital Partners will pay for this isn't apparent, but my sense is that there's big money on board.)

Ambition by itself alone doesn't make for big healthcare industry news. What's interesting, rather, is the speed at which all of this is happening. After only a few years in business (the firm was started in late 2002) the company ranks as number 3 on Inc. magazine's current list of fastest-growing companies in the U.S. What's even more interesting is its strategy, which consists of acquiring or leasing hospitals that are, in the words of CEO Todd Johnson, "broken" and ready for turnaround. (Those of us who watched Columbia Hospital Corp. go through a similar exercise in the early 90s will know why I find this intriguing.)

Johnson is looking at any market in which the population has above-average growth rates, which includes the southeastern U.S., southwestern U.S. and some of the West Coast. Also--and this is critical--the hospitals targeted must be in financial trouble.

To learn more about Hospital Partners:
- read this article from The Charlotte Observer

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