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Medical Group Buys Hospital in La Habra

April 06, 1988|MARIA L. La GANGA | Times Staff Writer

An 82-doctor medical group has purchased La Habra's only hospital in a $25-million deal that includes the 299-bed facility, two medical buildings and 22 acres of land, group officials said Tuesday.

Family Hills Medical Group began negotiating for La Habra Community Hospital in late summer and took over operations of the facility March 31, said Mary Jo Littlefield, the group's director of business development.

The medical group, which was created 20 years ago by four physicians, operates outpatient facilities near the hospital. "And our doctors have been at this hospital since it opened," Littlefield said.

The medical group bought the 16-year-old hospital from Health Trust, a Nashville-based hospital chain. Health Trust officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

FOR THE RECORD
Los Angeles Times Thursday April 7, 1988 Orange County Edition Business Part 4 Page 6 Column 1 Financial Desk 1 inches; 30 words Type of Material: Correction
Because of a reporting error, an article in Wednesday's business section incorrectly identified the purchaser of La Habra Community Hospital. In fact, the hospital was bought by Friendly Hills Medical Group.

Health Trust was formed last year, when Hospital Corp. of America spun off 104 of its hospitals nationwide. Hospital Corp. of America bought La Habra Community Hospital from a local partnership in 1980.

"It (the hospital) wasn't paying for itself under Health Trust's leadership," said Dr. Albert E. Barnett, chief executive of Family Hills Medical Group. "It was losing . . . we don't really know how much. It was losing money for Health Trust and HCA for a couple of years."

Barnett said Family Hills plans to consolidate some of the hospital and medical group operations, such as laboratories that are run by both facilities.

"We will run one lab to take care of the hospital and medical group, one urgent-care center and emergency room to take care of both, one radiology department," Barnett said. "We're trying to build a fully integrated health-care system. . . . We think it will be much more cost effective than a hospital running its own show and a medical group running its own show."

Because Family Hills has sustained a 20% growth rate for the past five years, Barnett said, there should be ample work for all current employees, and no layoffs are anticipated.

The medical group, which has its main offices on 10 acres of land next to the hospital, serves about 65,000 patients who belong to health maintenance organizations and about 16,000 others, Barnett said. Together, the main office and Family Hills satellites in four other cities logged about 450,000 office visits in 1987.

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