Takeover fight could touch Georgia hospitals

An unsolicited $3.3 billion bid by Community Health Systems for Tenet Healthcare, announced Thursday, would have an impact in Georgia.

Each company owns hospitals in the state, though in very different markets. Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health, which operates or leases 126 hospitals nationally, has Trinity Hospital of Augusta and Fannin Regional Hospital in Blue Ridge. The company is an aggressive pursuer of hospitals.

Tenet, based in Dallas, Texas, is a much bigger player in Georgia, though its holdings are concentrated in the Atlanta region. The company’s five hospitals in the state are Atlanta Medical Center, North Fulton Regional Hospital in Roswell, South Fulton Medical Center in East Point, Spalding Regional Medical Center in Griffin, and Sylvan Grove Hospital in Jackson.

A completed merger would create the largest for-profit hospital chain in the nation. The resulting company would have 176 hospitals in 30 states, surpassing the 163 operated by privately held HCA in the U.S. and England.

Tenet rejected the bid as opportunistic and inadequate. It also argues that such a deal would make an awkward match, because Tenet generally operates large hospitals and Community Health generally runs smaller ones.

The offer, meanwhile, may set off rival bids for Tenet, according to a Bloomberg/Businessweek report.

The acquisition effort also may reflect an anticipated surge of consolidation in the medical industry, driven by a tough reimbursement climate and in response to health care reform.