Ardent to acquire Amarillo hospital system

Local chain buys out Christus stake, commits to investments

Ardent Health Services of Nashville has announced its acquisition of an 80 percent ownership interest of the BSA Health System in Amarillo, Texas. The company has joined forces with Baptist Community Services of Amarillo to take control of a 445-bed hospital, a cancer treatment center, a network of primary care, urgent care centers and surgical and bariatric clinics among several other affiliated tertiary services.

When the deal is completed, assuming regulatory approval, Baptist will retain 20 percent ownership in what’s being dubbed a “joint venture.” The latter had run the BSA Health System with CHRISTUS Health since 1996. CHRISTUS said last December it would sell its ownership interest in the Amarillo system — which now becomes Ardent's third network, joining systems in Tulsa, Okla., and Albuquerque, N.M.

“We chose Ardent because of its proven track record in the industry and its commitment to growth and to improving clinical quality and the patient experience,” said Steve Dalrymple, president and CEO of Baptist Community Services. “In addition, they are strategically located in markets adjacent to Amarillo, and we see some nice synergies for all these markets to work well together.”

According to a statement from the two organizations, Ardent has committed to:

• Preserve the BSA mission and its name, as well as the names of its affiliates
• Invest $50 million dollars to build a new and expanded emergency room
• Build a new cancer clinical facility
• Invest $75 million into BSA over the next five years for additional services, new equipment and technology
• Hire all employees upon the completion of the sale and essentially keep the same their benefits and compensation
• Endorse and support BSA’s current charity care policies
• Continue the chaplaincy program at BSA
• Keep current insurance and payer contracts

Ardent's big Amarillo purchase comes after it has in the past year and a half made a number of acquisitions to fill out its networks in Oklahoma and New Mexico. In the summer of 2011, it bought two hospitals in the Oklahoma City area from Community Health Systems. Before that, it snapped up a New Mexico heart hospital from MedCath. And near the end of last year, it bought a small hospital in Roswell, N.M.