Hospi­tal could join Cen­tura Health

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Jes­sica Sea­man

A Grand Junc­tion hospi­tal is look­ing to join Cen­tura Health’s sys­tem, say­ing Thurs­day that it has signed a let­ter of in­tent to pur­sue ex­clu­sive ne­go­ti­a­tions with the Cen­ten­nial­based provider.

Com­mu­nity Hospi­tal said in a state­ment that the de­ci­sion to en­ter talks with Cen­tura Health “re­flects its long­term com­mit­ment to pre­serve and ex­pand op­tions for com­pas­sion­ate, high qual­ity health care in the Grand Val­ley.”

Though the hospi­tal hasn’t strug­gled as much as other com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties, one of the chal­lenges Com­mu­nity Hospi­tal faces as an in­de­pen­dent fa­cil­ity is the abil­ity to ac­cess cap­i­tal and up­date its tech­nol­ogy, said Chris Thomas, pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer.

If ac­quired by Cen­tura Health, Com­mu­nity Hospi­tal would have ac­cess to funds that would al­low the hospi­tal sys­tem to grow, in­clud­ing up­dat­ing its com­puter sys­tem, he said.

“A part­ner­ship with (Cen­tura Health) re­ally ad­vances our mis­sion,” Thomas said.

With its hospi­tal and physi­cian clinic, Com­mu­nity Hospi­tal has 950 em­ploy­ees.

Across the na­tion, in­de­pen­dent hos­pi­tals, es­pe­cially in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, have strug­gled to stay open on their own, with many fa­cil­i­ties clos­ing or join­ing larger health sys­tems. More broadly, the health care sys­tem has been on an ac­qui­si­tion and merger spree in re­cent years, with 50 such deals be­ing an­nounced dur­ing the first half of 2018, ac­cord­ing to Kauf­man Hall, a con­sult­ing ser­vice.

Few de­tails have been pro­vided about the po­ten­tial deal, which is pend­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tion of a de­fin­i­tive agree­ment and reg­u­la­tory ap­proval. Com­mu­nity Hospi­tal is a non­profit, so it will need ap­proval from the state at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice.

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