St. Mary's Health Care System in Athens, Ga., has signed a letter of intent to acquire Ty Cobb Regional Medical Center, a financially struggling hospital in rural northeast Georgia.
Terms of the proposed purchase have not been disclosed. The due diligence process was moving forward in late April as Catholic Health World went to press. St. Mary's Health Care System did not yet have a date for the deal to be finalized, said spokesman Avery McLean.
The sale would include only the medical center, a recently built 56-bed hospital in Lavonia, Ga., and no other components of the Ty Cobb Healthcare System, according to a statement.
Ty Cobb Regional Medical Center began serving communities in five northeast Georgia counties in 2012. It's located about 40 miles northeast of the 196-bed St. Mary's Hospital in Athens.
In 1950, the baseball great Ty Cobb donated $100,000 to establish a hospital to meet the needs of the people of his hometown and surrounding communities. That hospital, Cobb Memorial Hospital in Royston, Ga., and Hart County Hospital in Hartwell, Ga., were operated by the Ty Cobb Healthcare System. Both of those hospitals were closed in 2012 when the health system opened the new Ty Cobb Regional Medical Center in Lavonia.
Greg Hearn, chief executive of Ty Cobb Healthcare System, wrote in an article published last summer in Ty Cobb hospital's magazine that the regional medical center received about 65 percent of its revenue from serving Medicaid and Medicare patients. Those government insurance programs pay less than the hospital's cost of care, he said. He said cuts in reimbursements related to the Affordable Care Act were supposed to be offset by the law's expansion of Medicaid coverage. The Georgia legislature has not expanded Medicaid. In addition, he noted a growing number of patients with insurance have been unable to pay higher deductibles and copayments that are now common in many policies.
St. Mary's Health Care System, part of Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health system, also includes the 25-bed St. Mary's Good Samaritan Hospital near Greensboro, Ga., a retirement community and a center for Alzheimer's and dementia care and a home health and hospice service.
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