Move Over HCA: Community Health Says Acquisition Makes It Largest For-Profit Hospital Chain

Franklin-based Community Health Systems says it will be the largest for-profit hospital company in the US, once it completes the purchase of a rival. Community Health announced today it’s buying Florida-based Health Management Associates in a deal worth $7.6 billion.

University Medical Center in Lebanon is one of 71 hospitals owned by Health Management Associates. It will become part of Franklin-based Community Health Systems in a $7.6 billion deal announced today. Image: Health Management Associates

University Medical Center in Lebanon is one of 71 hospitals owned by Health Management Associates. It will become part of Franklin-based Community Health Systems in a $7.6 billion deal announced today. Image: Health Management Associates

The new, larger Community Health Systems will have 206 hospitals in 29 states. The firm has grown rapidly in the last decade, buying hospitals located mostly in small cities and rural areas. Even with today’s announcement, CEO Wayne Smith told investors on a conference call that there’s still room to grow. “We have a number of really good opportunities for future acquisitions. So, we’ll continue to pursue those,” he said.

But first, federal regulators will have to approve Community Health Systems’ purchase of Health Management Associates. That company’s shareholders will vote on the deal, as well.  Community Health agreed to pay $3.9 billion for the Florida-based firm. It will also take on $3.7 billion of the company’s debt.

Nashville-based HCA is currently considered the nation’s largest for-profit hospital company, in terms of facilities and revenue. Community Health Systems will have a larger total number of hospitals, under the deal announced today.  However, HCA will still be the largest hospital chain by revenue.

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