No big changes at BCH, officials say

Officials from Community Health Systems, which owns Barstow Community Hospital, say their acquisition of Health Management Associates won’t have a significant effect on day-to-day operations at BCH.

The merger joins two of the largest hospital systems in the country. Prior to Wednesday’s deal, CHS owned, leased or operated 135 hospitals in 29 states across the country. The company will now absorb HMA, which operates 71 hospitals in 15 states.

After nurses expressed concern that the deal could have a negative impact on patient care in a previous Desert Dispatch report, CHS spokesperson Tomi Galin said the merger won’t have a major effect on day-to-day operations at BCH.

“We don’t expect any significant changes to the day-to-day operations at our affiliated hospitals as a result of the transaction to acquire Health Management Associates,” Galin said. “The expansion of our organization overall should have a positive impact on our affiliated hospitals as we have more opportunities to share best practices and respond to changing dynamics in our industry.”

The transaction, proposed at $7 billion, is expected to be completed by the end of the month.

“We are pleased that HMA stockholders have seen the significant strategic value in combining with CHS,” CHS Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer Wayne T. Smith said in a news release. “We are working now to finalize regulatory approvals, and we expect to complete this transaction quickly so that we can integrate our two companies and deliver on our plans for long-term growth and value creation.”

CHS, located in Franklin, Tennesee, is a publicly-traded company on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “CYH”.

The merger, which was proposed in a previous agreement between CHS and HMA in November, was formally approved at Wednesday’s special shareholder’s meeting in North Naples, Fla. The proposed merger was approved by 98.7 percent of the votes cast at the shareholder’s meeting, representing 81.7 percent of HMA’s outstanding common shares.

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