Friday, February 8, 2019

Community Healthcare Associates Completes Purchase of Salem County Hospita

Community Healthcare Associates, which has a successful track record turning around troubled medical properties, won final state approval to complete its acquisition of a South New Jersey hospital that it plans to rebrand and spend $30 million to improve.

The Bloomfield, New Jersey-based company acquired what was once named Memorial Hospital of Salem County at 310 Woodstown Road , Mannington, New Jersey, from Community Health Systems Inc. of Franklin, Tennessee. Community Healthcare has already rechristened the almost 100-year-old hospital as Salem Medical Center.

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but NJ Advance Media reported the sale price at $3 million.

In a statement, Community Healthcare said the acquisition will give it the chance to reposition a fully operational acute care hospital, modernizing it. The developer said it plans to renovate a large portion of the existing hospital’s physical plant, to consolidate and expand various medical programs, and to upgrade the hospital’s medical equipment and IT systems.

That effort will be helped with the assistance of two recent additions to Community Healthcare's management team, veteran hospital administrators Ellsworth Havens and Paul Goldberg, according to the company.

“Our plan to retain and expand the delivery of quality health care services in Salem County has been carefully crafted, presented, reviewed, and updated by key stakeholders, including current medical staff, current hospital leadership, community advocates, and others, all of whom are integral to the hospital’s success,” Bill Colgan, Community Healthcare's managing partner, said in a statement.

The company aims to expand the hospital’s existing relationships with local healthcare providers, including Cooper University Health Care, a Southern New Jersey provider of comprehensive healthcare services, medical education and clinical research services. Community Healthcare is in talks with that entity for an expansion of its services to transform Salem Medical Center into a teaching hospital, and for Southern New Jersey Family Health Care to establish a new Federally Qualified Health Center within the hospital facility.

In addition to those short-term plans, Community Healthcare's long-term goals for Salem Medical Center include reopening the now-closed ambulatory surgery center on the hospital’s campus, and to expand medical services to attract gynecological, interventional radiology, urology, endocrinology, vascular and cardiac services. The hospital is now licensed for 114 medical-surgical beds and 12 intensive-care beds.

Although under its new ownership Salem Medical Center status will change to that of a non-profit, it will operate under a lease from a for-profit company and therefore remain a local tax rate property, according to Community Healthcare. Under the terms of an agreement between the hospital's ownership and the township of Mannington, the facility will generate about $3.3 million in property tax revenue over the next 30 years, according to Community Healthcare.

Community Healthcare's strategy is typically to convert shuttered hospitals into community-based healthcare facilities, including the former Barnert Hospital in Paterson, New Jersey, the former Greenville Hospital in Jersey City, New Jersey, and the former William B. Kessler Memorial Hospital in Hammonton, New Jersey. The firm's most current hospital conversion project, of the former Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center in Plainfield, New Jersey, is undergoing extensive renovations now.

In March last year Memorial Hospital of Salem County announced that there was a deal for Community Healthcare to acquire it, pending state regulatory approvals. New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal recently approved a certificate of need application that permitted transfer of the facility to Community Healthcare at the end of January.

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