TN execs start firm to buy, operate rural hospitals

A pair of executives from Brentwood, TN have launched a company focused on buying up and operating rural hospitals, hoping to grow the facilities' business by supplying partnership and hard-to-get capital resources. The venture is backed by private-equity firm Warburg Pincus, which will invest up to $300 million to fund hospital acquisitions.

RegionalCare Hospital Partners is founded by executives Marty Rash and John Rutledge, formerly of Province Healthcare Co., which was bought out for $1.7 billion by LifePoint Hospitals. Rash had served as chairman and CEO of Province, and Rutledge was Province's president and COO.

The RegionalCare is likely to have many attractive targets to choose from, analysts say, as hospitals finally exhaust their financial resources and put themselves up for sale. However, it's not the only company on the prowl. Chains like LifePoint and Capella Healthcare are likely to compete for desirable properties, says Whit Mayo, analyst with Robert W. Baird & Co.

To learn more about the company:
- read this piece in The Tennessean
- read this Warburg Pincus release