State hospital industry officials say Tenet Health is seeking a buyer or a partner for its five Georgia hospitals.
The five hospitals are all in greater metro Atlanta, and they include 460-bed Atlanta Medical Center and 202-bed North Fulton Hospital in Roswell.
A spokesman for the health care organization, based in Dallas, Texas, did not confirm or deny the Georgia hospital plan when asked by Georgia Health News.
“We won’t be commenting on any possible corporate development activities, nor will we comment on what we may or may not have communicated internally to our employees,’’ said Donn Walker of Tenet in an email Thursday to GHN.
Tenet operates 80 hospitals, more than 200 outpatient centers and six health plans nationally.
Industry officials, who declined to be identified, said the Tenet drive for a sale or partnership in Georgia got under way recently.
The other Tenet hospitals in Georgia are Atlanta Medical Center-South Campus in East Point, Spalding Regional Hospital in Griffin, and Sylvan Grove Hospital in Jackson.
Hospitals in Georgia – and around the nation – increasingly have sought partnerships to help deal with the rapid changes in health care.
“Nobody wants to be alone,’’ said David Smith, a consultant with Kearny Street Consulting in Alpharetta. “Partnerships bring different strengths to the equation. Nobody has the expertise to go alone.’’
Smith said he was not surprised about the Tenet speculation. Tenet has not been a leader in the metro Atlanta market, he said.
Still, he said, North Fulton has a good footprint in the affluent north Atlanta suburbs and would be a desirable target. Atlanta Medical Center (AMC) appears to be “holding its own against Grady’’ in downtown Atlanta, Smith added.
Formerly Georgia Baptist Medical Center, Atlanta Medical Center has been serving the Atlanta community for more than 100 years. AMC became a Level 1 trauma center in 2011.
“Tenet is not top of mind in the local market as a prominent health system, yet its hospitals have been successful with positive cash flow,’’ said Chris Kane, a consultant with Dixon Hughes Goodman. He noted that Sylvan Grove is a critical access hospital, and that Spalding Regional is the only community hospital in its area.
“It will be interesting to see if Tenet can divest the assets as a package,’’ Kane added. “North Fulton will generate significant interest, but the AMC-South Fulton campus will not.”
Tenet is focused on being the No. 1 or No. 2 player in the markets it serves, Kane said. With several large nonprofit systems in metro Atlanta in leading positions – Emory, Piedmont, WellStar, Northside – “it will be difficult for Tenet to attain this goal here,” he said.