Sharon Regional Hospital agrees to for-profit buyout

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A Mercer County health system will be sold to a for-profit Tennessee conglomerate that owns, leases or operates 206 other hospitals in 29 states, according to an agreement announced Thursday.

Sharon Regional Health System said it has reached a definitive agreement to be sold to Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems Inc.

The sales price was not released, but hospital officials said in a news release that Community Health will invest at least $75 million in the hospital in the next five years.

Sharon Regional has about 1,800 workers making it the largest employer in Mercer County, which borders Ohio along Interstate 80. Sharon Regional’s flagship hospital is about 60 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.

In recent years, Community Health has purchased other hospitals just across the border from Sharon Regional, including Trumbull Memorial, Hillside and Northside hospitals in and around Youngstown and Warren, Ohio.

“This acquisition supports our strategic effort to develop networks of hospitals and health care services in regions where we currently operate,” Wayne T. Smith, Community Health’s chairman and chief executive said.

The state attorney general’s office and the county’s Orphan’s Court must approve the sale, after the hospital discloses information including the sale price, how the deal will impact health care services in the area, and the hospital’s business profile, including its assets, operating agreements and management contracts, and any outstanding litigation.

The attorney general’s office scheduled a hearing to take public comment on the deal Thursday afternoon at the Sharon City Building. A hearing in Mercer County Orphan’s Court has been set for Feb. 26.

Community Health said the hospital’s workers will keep their jobs, pay rates and seniority if they are “in good standing,” and the hospital’s schools of nursing and radiography will remain open.

“CHS has an outstanding reputation for high quality and patient satisfaction, and we’re excited to move forward with an organization that will help position Sharon Regional for future long-term success, William Strimbu, chairman of the hospital’s board said.


First Published February 6, 2014 11:11 AM


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