Caritas strikes deal to buy R.I. hospital
Reaching across state lines, Caritas Christi Health Care asked a Rhode Island judge today to approve an agreement to buy Landmark Medical Center, a 214-bed community hospital in Woonsocket, R.I.
It would be the first acquisition by Caritas, the Boston-based chain of six Catholic hospitals that is seeking to expand its system with the resources of private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.
But today's submission of a signed asset purchase agreement between Caritas and Landmark is just a preliminary step toward bringing the Woonsocket hospital into the fold. Landmark has been in court-appointed receivership for more than two years, and Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein in Providence would have to sign off on the deal before it could be referred to regulators for approval.
At minimum, transfer of Landmark to the Caritas system would need the okay of the Rhode Island attorney general and the state Department of Health. Massachusetts regulators, who currently are studying the Caritas agreement to be acquired by Cerberus, would not have to approve the Landmark deal.
Caritas spokesman Chris Murphy said the purchase of Landmark would create "economies of scale" for the system's health care resources in southeastern Massachusetts, which include Norwood Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital in Brockton, and Saint Anne's Hospital in Fall River as well as a business office and a Norwood Hospital-affiliated oncology center in Foxborough.
"Given that we have three hospitals with overlapping primary and secondary service areas in that region, adding Landmark Medical Center would benefit our patients," Murphy said today.
The asset purchase agreement was not made public, and Caritas officials would not discuss financial terms. The deal comes as Caritas awaits state approval in Massachusetts for its deal to be acquired by New York-based private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.
Even before the completion of the Caritas-Cerberus deal, which also requires the green light from the Vatican, Caritas chief executive Ralph de la Torre has been quietly courting other potential acquisition candidates, according to Massachusetts health care insiders.
Among those with whom de la Torre has held informal discussions are Essent Healthcare Inc., owner of Merrimack Valley Hospital in Haverhill and Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer, and Cambridge Health Alliance, owner of Cambridge Hospital, Somerville Hospital, and Whidden Memorial Hospital in Everett.