Questions remain for residents after Memorial Health's sale to H - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Questions remain for residents after Memorial Health's sale to HCA

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

The sale of Memorial University Medical Center to the Hospital Corporation of America has been approved by Memorial board members and the Chatham County Hospital Authority. 

Twenty-four fours after the approval, we're learning more about what this will mean for the hospital. As with any sale, the financial figures are the most critical information. In this case, we're talking hundreds of millions of dollars. Many people in Savannah are still trying to decipher the figures released on Wednesday, as the sale of Memorial is still new to them. 

"I think this is going to be one of the best things to ever happen to the health care community," said Memorial Health Board Chairman Curtis Lewis. 

Many have questions about this hospital's future. 

One WTOC Facebook fan wrote, "They only guaranteed trauma and neonatal for 10 years. What happens when there's no profit?"

That part of the new deal between HCA and Memorial is true and different from the previous proposal with Novant Health. Here's the breakdown. The new deal pays off about $300 million in debt and invests nearly $300 million in new projects. It promises to keep Level 1 Trauma and Neonatal/NICU 3 services for only 10 years.

It also puts more than $100 million in a trust fund for the community. The previous deal with Novant Health was roughly the same with one big exception: no real time limit on keeping services like Level 1 Trauma and Neonatal. There was also no trust fund. 

Chatham County Hospital Authority's chairman says companies did not beat down the doors to join forces. 

"When it came down to interested parties, it got awfully narrow," said Dr. Frank Rossiter, board chairman for the Chatham County Hospital Authority. 

The next step is getting the deal approved by Georgia's Attorney General, and hospital leaders plan to move fast in sealing this deal by Fall 2017. 

"We have hoops to jump through, but we're going to do it as rapidly as possible because we need to move on," Dr. Rossiter said. 

With about 5,000 employees, Memorial is one of the largest employers in our area, and hospital leaders say they do not expect staff changes. 

We will continue to follow the sale of the hospital and the impact it will have on the community. 

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