Federal agency OKs HMC-Piedmont partnership

Federal authorities have given their approval to the merger of the Henry Medical Center with Piedmont Healthcare, of Atlanta.

Piedmont Healthcare and Henry Medical Center officials announced, Thursday, that the Federal Trade Commission has issued notification of its completion of the review required in the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act. The legislation established the federal pre-merger notification program, providing the Federal Trade Commission, and the U.S. Department of Justice, with information about large mergers and acquisitions before they occur.

"As we anticipate final approval of the partnership documents, and prepare the required filing with the Attorney General, we were pleased to learn that this important review the FTC and Department of Justice was concluded favorably," said Charlie Scott, president and chief executive officer of Henry Medical Center.

"We are most grateful for the support of our employees, physicians and community as we advance the partnership process," he said. "In particular, we appreciate the letters of support that we were able to share with these federal anti-trust agencies, from community leaders, including Henry County Schools, the City of Stockbridge, the City of Locust Grove, the Henry County Board of Commissioners, and the Henry County Chamber of Commerce."

Piedmont Healthcare was notified of the approval, Wednesday, according to Nina Day, a spokesperson for the hospital system.

The health-care system's president and chief executive officer, R. Timothy Stack, said the news enables the Henry Medical Center and Piedmont Healthcare to complete an essential step in their partnership process.

"Both organizations continue to work diligently to ensure the fruition of this relationship, in the best interest of the community served Henry Medical Center," said Stack.

In April, after a nine-month process, Henry Medical Center selected Piedmont Healthcare as its affiliation partner. The Atlanta medical entity has four hospitals in Georgia.

Financial terms of the transaction between Piedmont Healthcare and HMC have not been disclosed. Three hospital boards decided on a long-term lease as the structural model for the affiliation, as opposed to an outright sale. According to the arrangement, the hospital's assets would continue to be owned the Hospital Authority and leased to Henry Medical Center, which would become a subsidiary of Piedmont, who would have the responsibility and authority to operate the hospital.

Terms of the partnership are expected to have final approval over the next 90 to 120 days, according to a statement issued Henry Medical Center officials.

"Additional, necessary, regulatory approvals will be pursued prior to the signing of definitive agreements, with projected ‘go live' of the new organization January 2012," according to the statement.