Doctors plan to purchase three rural Louisiana hospitals

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A group of doctors and its corporate partner have made a move to purchase three rural community hospitals in Louisiana that faced an uncertain future after the company that owned them declared bankruptcy.

The doctors. who have formed the Central Louisiana Hospitals group, plan to buy the Avoyelles Hospital, Winn Parish Hospital and Oakdale Community Hospital from its current owner Progressive Acute Care, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy back in May, according to a report on AvoyellesToday.com. The group will pay $10.55 million in cash for the properties.

The bankruptcy filing left the fate of the three small hospitals uncertain and many community members worried about where they would receive healthcare if the facilities closed, the article said.

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“This means we who live and work here will make sure the hospital is run properly and meets the needs of the people of this community,” Donna Breen, M.D., one of the doctors involved in the purchase told the publication, speaking about Avoyelles Hospital located in Marksville. The group, which includes doctors from Avoyelles, Winn and Allen parishes and their corporate partner Allegiance Health Management, which is headquartered in Shreveport, will also buy some doctors’ office buildings owned by the hospitals.

The doctors are excited about the sale and plan to grow Avoyelles Hospital with the recruitment of new physicians, said L.J. Mayeux, M.D., another local physician in the group. The group also plans to add new services and expand existing services, Breen said.

A final hearing on the sale is scheduled for today in bankruptcy court. The sale could be finalized by September 1, according to Breen.

Physician-owned hospitals received high marks for quality from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which released star ratings for hospitals earlier this summer.

Rural hospitals have become an endangered species in some areas of the country. The rural health financial crisis has forced many hospitals to cut their workforces, others to drop services such as routine baby deliveries, and all to look at other delivery options and financial models.