The Deal is Off For St. Joseph

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February 13, 2006
The deal is off for the St. Joseph Hospital. That news came as a complete surprise to Ascension Health, owners of the hospital. And the timing of this was particularly painful because the announcement came down hours before a scheduled public hearing on the sale.

It was hard to believe for the hospital owners, Ascension Health. Representatives of HMA were here as late as this past Friday taking tours of St. Joseph Hospital expressing their excitement in the deal.

“We were shocked and stunned, this is still pretty fresh news less than 24 hours since then and I think it’s fair to say we remain shocked and disappointed,” said Laura Kaiser, Ascension Health.

Laura Kaiser of St. Joseph says they got a phone call Sunday night saying the deal was off.

“They provided a reason to the attorney general and my understanding is they were concerned of their availability to acquire St. Joseph going forward,” Kaiser said.

HMA bailing out of the $75 million deal just hours before a scheduled public hearing on the sale on Monday. So what would make a company back out so late? It’s an answer Ms. Kaiser would like to know herself.

“It’s unprecedented in the years of experience we’ve had in transactional work, none of us have seen anything like it,” Kaiser said.

Back in June of last year the hospital announced their plans to try to sell St. Joseph after suffering financial losses for the past 10 years.

“The issue is we can survive in the marketplace and the answer is not the configuration that currently exists,” said Andy Lasser, former CEO of St. Joseph Hospital.

Leaving hundreds of employees who were once relieved now left in the dark.

“It’s truly the question at hand we have a group of senior leadership at Ascension Health that will meet tomorrow morning to speak about that and we’ll sort through it as quickly as we can,” Kaiser said.