Easton Hospital's new owner acquiring health care operator

Boston company buys Franklin-based IASIS Healthcare

Easton Hospital's new owner acquiring health care operator

The acquisition will mean Steward Healthcare, along with IASIS, will have combined assets of 36 hospitals across the country and total revenues of $8 billion.

Steward, backed by NY private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, entered the MA health care market in 2010 when it bought the financially-distressed Caritas hospitals formerly run by the Archdiocese of Boston.

As part of the deal, Steward, already a major player in MA health care, will take on 18 hospitals now operated by IASIS - expanding its footprint across 10 states. IASIS operates 17 hospitals and one behavioral health hospital in locations across Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. "Our model shows how the industry can successfully shift toward a more cost-effective local, coordinated approach that puts patients first". Under the deal, Medical Properties Trust has agreed to acquire the interests of substantially all of IASIS' hospital real estate subject to long-term leases and loans with Steward, according to the news release from Steward.

Steward said that MPT, the real estate company to which Steward sold its MA hospitals, has also agreed to acquire all of IASIS's real estate and lease it back to the company.

IASIS chief executive W. Carl Whitmer said in a statement that "it will be business as usual" as executives work to complete the merger.

W. Carl Whitmer, Iasis president and CEO, said the health care company formed almost 20 years ago with a mission to deliver high-quality, cost-effective health care to patients. Steward says its health care model turned around some of the state's most struggling hospitals into a thriving health system that improved outcomes, lowered costs, and decreased overall health care spending. The local acquisition was part of eight hospitals in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida that Steward bought from Community Health Systems Inc.

Dr. Mark Girard, president of Steward Health Care Network, said the merger is an opportunity to expand the type of health care the company already provides locally.

Steward closed its deal May 1 to acquire Wilson-based Easton Hospital. CHS, a Fortune 500 company that is also based in Franklin, Tenn., announced in September it was "exploring a variety of options with financial sponsors, as well as other potential alternatives".

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