Ascension to acquire full interest in Bay Medical Sacred Heart

December 15, 2018

Ascension Sacred Heart Health System and Ardent Health Services have signed a letter of intent for Ardent to sell its interest in the Bay Medical Center Sacred Heart in Panama City, Fla., to Ascension.

Ardent, a for-profit health system headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., signed the letter of intent last month to sell its interest in the 323-bed facility, as well as physician clinics in Panama City and Bay County, Fla. Financial details were not available. Bay Medical has operated as a joint venture between Ardent and St. Louis-based Ascension since April 2012.

Ardent, which holds 80 percent ownership, currently has full operational control. The hospital has followed the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services since Ascension entered the joint venture and it will continue to do so after Ascension assumes full ownership, an Ascension spokesman said.

Ascension Sacred Heart Health System includes three Florida hospitals, in Pensacola, Miramar Beach and Port St. Joe. St. Vincent's HealthCare in Jacksonville also is part of Ascension Florida.

The Bay Medical campus sustained considerable damage Oct. 10 when Hurricane Michael made landfall on the Florida Gulf Coast as a Category 4 hurricane. The hospital evacuated patients after the storm, transferring them to other hospitals including Ascension facilities in Florida and in Mobile, Ala. Bay Medical is restoring patient services in stages. Emergency services have been in continuous operation at the hospital.

"The caregivers and physicians of Ascension Sacred Heart put forth tremendous effort to help the region, working closely with our colleagues at Bay Medical and our partners at Ardent, during and after Hurricane Michael," said Tom VanOsdol, an Ascension senior vice president and ministry market executive of Ascension Florida. "Going forward, we believe that Bay Medical will be best positioned to meet the evolving needs of the community as a full member of our Ascension Sacred Heart ministry."

The transaction is subject to standard regulatory approvals and closing conditions, according to a news release.



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