By Associated Press - Monday, May 3, 2021

ATLANTA (AP) - One of Georgia’s largest hospital systems is seeking to get bigger, buying two hospitals in Macon, one in Cartersville and one in Snellville for $950 million.

Piedmont Healthcare announced the purchase Monday from HCA Healthcare. The move would give Piedmont 15 acute care hospitals statewide, as it jockeys with other major Atlanta-area health systems for size and market power.

If regulators approve, Piedmont would buy 310-bed Eastside Medical Center in Snellville, 310-bed Coliseum Medical Centers and 103-bed Coliseum Northside in Macon, and 119-bed Cartersville Medical Center. The deal also includes two inpatient psychiatric hospitals, one in Macon and one in Snellville.

The companies said they hope to complete the transaction by July 31.

HCA, based in Nashville, Tennessee, said in a statement that “these facilities were not able to fully benefit from a broader HCA Healthcare presence in their areas,” a recognition of continuing hospital mergers that help big systems to bargain for better payment terms with insurers.

HCA’s two metro Atlanta hospitals are among the last in the area that were not part of one of four major hospital systems - Piedmont, Emory Healthcare, Northside Hospital and Wellstar Health System.

“As a not-for-profit organization, we return our profits to the communities we serve by reinvesting in the care provided in those communities,” said Kevin Brown, president and CEO of Piedmont Healthcare. He said Piedmont would work to integrate the hospitals into a network of physician’s offices, urgent care centers and surgery centers.

Piedmont will also become a partner in a joint venture for 12 urgent and family care clinics.

The Health Care Cost Institute classifies the Atlanta market as moderately concentrated, with the 107th highest concentration out of 124 markets it ranks. The Federal Trade Commission has opposed some hospital mergers including one between Atrium Health Navicent and Houston Healthcare System in middle Georgia. The two systems dropped their merger plans after federal opposition.

HCA would still own Georgia hospitals in Augusta, Dublin, Rome, Savannah and Waycross. The for-profit operator, is also buying the hospital in Vidalia for $37 million.

The Rome News-Tribune has reported that HCA is considering selling Redmond Regional Medical Center there.

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