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Munroe gets final lease bids

Ocala, FL - February 12, 2013
Published in Gainesville Sun on Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Munroe Regional Medical Center leadership was handed its final lease offers Monday as HMA/Shands and Duke LifePoint Healthcare jockey to take over operation of the non-for-profit hospital.

Duke LifePoint offered $138.7 million, in addition to $150 million for master plan capital improvements. HMA/Shands topped that by offering $200 million in addition to $150 in master plan improvements.

Munroe's overseers, the Marion County Hospital District trustees, are looking to lease the 421-bed facility. The public hospital is struggling financially and lacks money to expand and remain competitive, hospital officials say.

Duke LifePoint Healthcare is a joint venture between Duke University Health System, Inc. and LifePoint Hospitals. LifePoint on its own owns or leases more than 50 hospitals in 22 states, including a facility in Palatka.

HMA owns or leases 70 hospitals nationwide and has affiliations with 32 hospitals in Florida, including some in the Shands at the University of Florida group.

Although the HMA/Shands offer is better financially, some Munroe affiliated doctors worry that the HMA/Shands group will only serve to funnel Munroe patients to Shands at the University of Florida.

Munroe officials are now working on plans to visit some of the healthcare groups' other hospitals and talk with their staff and leadership.