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. 

The board considered St. Vincent and the Heart Hospital, but decided on Baptist.

Baptist “was the only Arkansas-based health care system. … And we felt that it would be the best fit for our community,” Williams said.

Baptist also has hospitals in Arkadelphia, Heber Springs and Stuttgart.

Paul Cunningham, executive vice president of the Arkansas Hospital Association, said there isn’t “a wholesale move” of smaller hospitals in Arkansas looking to merge or affiliate with larger hospitals. But that prospect might be on the horizon.

“As we begin to see effects from the dramatic Medicare cuts found in the Affordable Care Act kick in, it would not be surprising to see more actions like this take place as a strategy for long-term viability,” he said in an email to Arkansas Business.

Arkansas hospitals are bracing for $42.6 million in lost revenue this year from 2 percent Medicare cuts. And it will just get worse.

During the next 10 years, Arkansas hospitals are projected to lose $2 billion in revenue from Medicare cuts, Cunningham said.

In 2012, a number of health care companies in Arkansas announced deals to work together in an attempt to save money.

Capella Healthcare of Franklin, Tenn., which owns National Park Medical Center in Hot Springs, announced plans to buy Mercy Hot Springs. That deal is still waiting for regulatory approval.

And in late August, St. Vincent and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences announced that they were studying an “affiliation” that would allow them “to deliver collaborative and/or integrated services.” A decision on whether they will work together hasn’t been announced.



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