Malvern Hospital Seeks Baptist Health Deal

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Apr. 8, 2013 12:00 am  

Hot Spring County Medical Center in Malvern may form a partnership with Baptist Health. 

Hot Spring County Medical Center of Malvern is in talks to form a partnership with Baptist Health of Little Rock.

If the deal is approved by the Hot Spring County Quorum Court, Baptist Health would operate the 72-bed hospital, said HSC Medical Center CEO Sheila Williams.

The county owns the hospital’s building and the property, and HSC leases the space from the county. Pending approval, Baptist would enter into a sublease agreement with HSC Medical Center.

Mark Lowman, the spokesman for Baptist Health, declined to comment on the specific arrangements of the partnership because the transaction isn’t final.

Williams said she was unsure when the Quorum Court would vote on the issue.

The quorum court is “taking their time and conducting a thorough investigation before they make their decision,” she said.

The Arkansas Heart Hospital in Little Rock and St. Vincent Health System recently gave a presentation to let the Quorum Court know that the county has other options, Williams said.

The hospital began pursing a partnership in early 2012 because of looming governmental cuts, she said.

Just from Medicare alone the hospital was facing revenue reductions of $12 million during the next decade, she said. “Our board was trying to be proactive in light of those cuts,” Williams said.

And the county’s 0.5 percent sales tax, which was approved in 2008 for the hospital, is set to expire at the end of this year. The tax money generates $1.2 million to $1.5 million a year, but it’s earmarked for the maintenance and upkeep of the building.

The Quorum Court will decide in May if the tax will be placed on the ballot again to be renewed.

Williams said the hospital had been financially stable in recent years. For the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2011, the latest figures available to Arkansas Business, the hospital reported total patient revenue of $51.1 million and a net income of $410,951. For the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2010, it reported total patient revenue of $54 million and a net income of $1.7 million.



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