Monday, Jul 02 2012 04:15 PM

Bakersfield Heart Hospital gets new majority owner

BY JOHN COX Californian staff writer

A physician-run company based in Nashville, Tenn., has purchased a majority interest in Bakersfield Heart Hospital, ending a two-year sale process that had drawn interest from a Bay Area company connected with three other local hospitals.

Cardiovascular Care Group paid $38.1 million for a 53.3 percent interest in the 47-bed specialty hospital built in 1999, according to the previous majority owner, Charlotte, N.C.-based MedCath Corp., which has been working to liquidate its assets.

Hospital President and CEO Randy Rolfe said "nothing drastic" would change as a result of Saturday's transaction. He added that the hospital's minority ownership by a local group of more than 40 physicians remains "status quo."

Dignity Health, the San Francisco nonprofit formerly known as Catholic Healthcare West, was a major contender in bidding for Bakersfield Heart Hospital, The Californian has reported. Dignity Health's network includes Bakersfield Memorial Hospital and Mercy Hospitals of Bakersfield's two locations in town.

Rolfe said in a news release that the hospital had been looking "long and hard for the right sort of partner."

"We wanted to find someone who shared our philosophy of care, one who was devoted to exceptional clinical quality and one with the resources and the vision to help us build a world class delivery model," Rolfe said in the news release. "We are firmly convinced that in CCG we have found that perfect partner."

CCG's only other major asset is Louisiana Heart Hospital, a 137-bed facility it bought from MedCath in October. When that deal was announced, Cardiovascular Care Group said the purchase was "the first in CCG's effort to create a national network" of heart-focused health care delivery systems.

"CCG's goal is to break down the barriers caused by today's fragmented delivery system that have led to suboptimal and more expensive cardiovascular care," the company wrote in its October news release.

The company was formed about five years ago as Cardiovascular Services of America but refocused and renamed itself in 2010.

The company's vice president of marketing, Joel Lee, said the company hopes to announce another acquisition soon.

"CCG is actively and aggressively in the acquisition mode," Lee said.

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