Judge up­ends Ad­ven­tist deal to ac­quire pub­lic Bert Fish

Modern Healthcare - - Late News -

A Florida judge or­dered one of the state’s largest health­care sys­tems to un­wind a con­tro­ver­sial deal in which Ad­ven­tist Health Sys­tem at­tempted to ac­quire the pub­licly run Bert Fish Med­i­cal Cen­ter in New Smyrna Beach. Florida Sev­enth Ju­di­cial Cir­cuit Judge Richard Graham ruled that Bert Fish ex­ec­u­tives il­le­gally held 21 meet­ings about the merger be­hind closed doors to iron out de­tails of the deal. And af­ter the Day­tona Beach

News Jour­nal ex­posed the il­le­gal­i­ties, of­fi­cials with Ad­ven­tist and Bert Fish ex­erted im­proper in­flu­ence on a sub­se­quent re­quest-for-pro­posal process that also wound up se­lect­ing Ad­ven­tist, ac­cord­ing to the rul­ing. Graham noted that Bert Fish ex­ec­u­tives and ad­vis­ers had strong fi­nan­cial in­cen­tives to steer the sec­ond round of merger talks to­ward Ad­ven­tist, and that the first at­tempt at merger had put them in a po­si­tion to in­flu­ence the out­come of the sec­ond process. Graham’s opin­ion noted a ma­jor flaw in the merger pa­per­work that was ig­nored by hos­pi­tal ex­ec­u­tives and would have over­paid Ad­ven­tist for un­com­pen­sated care by “hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars” over the 35-year deal by in­clud­ing bad debt ex­penses as char­ity care, thereby dou­ble-count­ing the fig­ure. Of­fi­cials with Ad­ven­tist and Bert Fish did not re­spond to calls for com­ment.

A judge ruled Bert Fish il­le­gally held 21 meet­ings.

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