Duke LifePoint acquires three-facility health system

JV now operates seven hospitals in North Carolina

The joint venture between LifePoint Hospitals and Duke University Health System has acquired a three-facility health system in western North Carolina.

WestCare Health System comprises the 86-bed Harris Regional Hospital in Sylva — which lies south of Cherokee — as well as the 48-bed Swain County Hospital in Bryson City and WestCare Medical Park, an outpatient facility in Franklin.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed in a release, though Duke LifePoint has committed to a minimum investment of $43 million in capital improvements over the next eight years.

"Harris Regional Hospital and Swain County Hospital have been a critical part of the health care infrastructure in western North Carolina for many years," Bill Carpenter, LifePoint's chairman and CEO, said in a release. "We are proud to partner with these hospitals to strengthen quality care across this region and look forward to working with their teams to better position the hospitals to grow and prosper in the changing health care environment."

Separately, Duke LifePoint also announced it has finalized the acquisition of MedWest Haywood, a 169-bed hospital now known as Haywood Regional Medical Center. Following these two deals, Duke LifePoint now jointly operates seven hospitals in North Carolina.

Shares of LifePoint (Ticker: LPNT) were changing hands near $71, down slightly from Thursday, in Friday mid-day trading. Helped by its recently reported Q2 earnings, the stock is up more than 30 percent year to date.