Piedmont Healthcare accelerates hospital buys throughout Georgia

Dive Brief:

  • Piedmont Healthcare signed a non-binding letter of intent to acquire Augusta, Georgia-based University Health Care System, which operates three hospitals as well as skilled nursing facilities and urgent care clinics along Georgia’s eastern border with South Carolina.
  • Terms of the deal have yet to be finalized. The letter of intent sets in motion a due diligence period in which the two systems will attempt to hammer out specific details before proceeding with the tie-up.
  • The deal does come with the promise that Piedmont will make University Health the “regional hub” for clinical services in the Augusta area, a little more than two hours from Atlanta. The deal will funnel resources and additional clinical experts to the area, the two said in a statement Wednesday.

Dive Insight:

Atlanta, Georgia-based Piedmont Healthcare is on a fast clip of buying up hospitals and expanding its presence throughout the state.

Just last week, the 11-hospital system announced plans to buy four additional hospitals from HCA Healthcare for $950 million. The sale is expected to close in the third quarter of this year. The hospitals in the HCA deal circle the outskirts of the Atlanta region.

The latest deal pushes Piedmont’s footprint further east to the Georgia-South Carolina border. In fact, University Health said its draws patients from across the border in South Carolina counties, giving Piedmont even greater reach if the deal closes.

Altogether, the two most recent deals would give Piedmont a total of 18 hospitals in Georgia, in addition to more ancillary services.

Piedmont says it currently serves 70% of Georgia’s population, a figure that is most likely to swell with the latest deals, which are likely to face regulatory scrutiny.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, hospital consolidation is expected to continue at a fast pace.

In a recent report, analysts at Moody’s said large health systems are likely to execute deals that bulk up their size by expanding to new geographic areas. Smaller hospitals that have been hit harder by the effects of the pandemic are likely to seek out partnerships in order to help them gain access to more resources.

Other reports back up the idea, showing that the pressures of the pandemic did not considerably slow the pace of hospital acquisitions.