GA Attorney General approves sale of Memorial Health to HCA

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The Georgia Attorney General has officially signed off on the sale of Memorial University Medical Center to HCA - Hospital Corporation of America.

Attorneys from all parties involved including HCA, Memorial Health, and the Chatham County Hospital Authority, are looking to close the deal by the end of the year. Tuesday, we sat down with the new CEO and chief operations officers who are waiting to take over as soon as it's final.

"It's a lot of just meeting and greeting, you know, building relationships. We haven't really gotten involved in the operations," Shayne George said.

Memorial Health's new CEO, Shayne George, has been on the job just two weeks but the real work won't begin until the sale of the hospital is finalized. This week, Georgia's Attorney General signed off on the sale, giving attorneys the go-ahead to close the deal. Until that happens, George and the hospital's new Chief Operating Officer, Matthew Hasbrouck, are waiting in the wings.

"Just getting to know folks and starting to build that rapport," Hasbrouck said.

The transition plans and changes will be released once the sale is finalized, but so far, HCA is living up to its end of the deal that was outlined in its letter of intent back in April, including offering jobs to all Memorial employees.

"We have no plans of cutting jobs or anything like that. We want to maintain what we have here now," George said.

HCA is also promising to maintain core services like the Level 1 Trauma Center and Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care for the first 10 years, but after that, it's unclear.

Memorial Health is one of five Level 1 trauma centers in Georgia that treat the worst of the worst cases and it's the only one south of Macon.

The new CEO and COO said they have no plans of ever eliminating those services.

"If I have anything to do with it, it's going to be a long-tenured Level 1 trauma center," George said.

"You know we need to continue those services; NICU Level 3, Trauma Level 1, to this community given just the geographic constraints," Hasbrouck said.

So even though Memorial Health will transition from a public to a private hospital, the top officials say the only noticeable changes that will come from the sale will be for the better.

"With HCA, we are coming in with a lot of systems, a lot of experience [and] a lot of capital too. I think it's time for Memorial to be appreciated for what they've done in this region," George said.

The transition plans are still being finalized, which includes those capital investments and the improvements they will begin to make around the hospital.

Of course, all of that will happen once they close on the sale which will likely happen by Dec. 31.

The attorney general's office posted its decision report online:

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