Tennessee provider to buy struggling Ohio health system for $70M

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Forum Health, based on Youngstown, Ohio, and its affiliated entities filed a court motion today to sell its hospitals and other assets to Ardent Health Services, a Nashville, Tenn., hospital company, beginning a complex process to exit bankruptcy.

The motion was filed in bankruptcy court after Forum and Ardent signed an asset purchase agreement outlining a proposed sale of Northside Medical Center, Trumbull Memorial Hospital, Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital and substantially all of its operating assets to Ardent for $69.8 million. Forum also said that Ardent has pledged to keep all of the hospitals open and invest an additional $50 million to $70 million over five years on renovations, new equipment and other upgrades that will enhance the quality of care and service.

Forum submitted the agreement to the bankruptcy court as part of a sale motion. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kay Woods will determine the process for reviewing the agreement, as well as any competing bids or objections to the agreement. This process may take several months to complete. Forum has been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy since March 2009.

The membership of all three unions representing Forum’s employees—the Service Employees International Union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Ohio Nurses Association—have indicated support for an Ardent purchase.