HCA to buy joint venture for $1.45B

The for-profit Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) yesterday announced it entered a deal with the nonprofit Colorado Health Foundation to buy 40 percent interest of HCA-HealthONE, a joint venture between the two organizations, for $1.45 billion. HealthONE is one of the largest healthcare systems in the Denver area with 8,700 employees and 3,000 affiliated physicians, according to the Colorado Health Foundation.

Created in 1995, HealthONE aimed to grow the area's hospitals and provide services to the community. It now includes seven hospitals and 13 ambulatory surgery centers.

Since 1995, HCA has invested more than $2 billion in improvements and health services, according to HCA.

As part of a nonbinding memorandum, HCA will continue to manage, govern, and invest in the existing acute-care hospitals in the Rocky Mountain region. In addition, an independent community board of trustees will operate HealthOne, notes the Foundation press release.

"This is great news for the people of Colorado," said Anne Warhover, president and CEO of the Foundation, in a statement. "By diversifying our funding, we can help ensure a strong future for the Foundation with confidence in our ongoing ability to provide millions of dollars in health-related grants to the people of Colorado for generations to come. Through this transaction, the Foundation can focus on what it does best--increase the number of Coloradans with health insurance, ensure they have access to quality, coordinated care, and encourage healthy living."

Part of the deal requires that HCA keep charity care at the same level for at least the next 10 years, reports the Denver Post. However, some are skeptical of a partnership of this magnitude.

"Because of the size of the transaction, there certainly ought to be a level of public explanation if not public scrutiny," said Ed Kahn, an attorney with the Colorado Center on Law & Policy, a public advocacy group, according to the Denver Post. "It (Colorado Health Foundation) will likely be larger than all the other health foundations in Colorado put together, and that's a pretty unique status."

The deal is pending regulatory review and expected to close later this year.

To learn more:
- read the Denver Post article
- here's the HCA press release
- here's the Foundation press release