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Bapist Hospital sale nears completion


Baptist Memorial Health Care and Lafayette County officials are close to reaching a deal that would give Baptist ownership of the hospital and allow it to be relocated to a new location in Oxford.

This process began almost two years ago when Baptist approached the county with an offer to build a new hospital in Oxford. This has required significant work from both sides.

“We approached the city and county almost two years ago with a proposal to build a new hospital,” said Don Hutson, CEO of Baptist Memorial Hospital in North Mississippi. “The first step in that process would be to buy out the lease that’s been in existence since 1989. So, at that point, we started all the negotiations and the due diligence to effect that lease buyout.” 

The sale is ultimately a deal in excess of $300 million, according to hospital officials, and it will likely be finalized by the middle of August. The completion for the new hospital is estimated for 2015. Oxford Mayor George Patterson said he believes a deal will be reached shortly.

“It’s a complicated transaction,” Patterson said. “But it’s just a give-and-take between a fleet of lawyers on a very complicated and convoluted real estate and business transaction. So, I think it’s just a matter of working through many things, and I think that it will probably be resolved in the next couple of weeks.”

Under the terms of this deal, the new hospital will be built within the city limits, which will make the facility more accessible to residents. There are currently several possible locations under consideration for the new hospital.

Hutson said land owners have come forward and asked that their property be considered, but Baptist has not made a decision as to where to build.

However, both Baptist Health Care officials and Patterson have declined to comment on the specific proposed locations. Patterson said Baptist was asked to find potential locations without his involvement.

“How I told Baptist to handle the situation (of finding a location) is that I don’t want to know,” Patterson said. “I have absolutely no idea (where the hospital will be located).”