Ascension Sacred Heart Health System and Ardent Health Services have signed a letter of intent for Ardent to sell its interest in 323-bed Bay Medical Sacred Heart (Bay Medical) in Panama City, Florida, to Ascension, including physician clinic operations in Panama City and Bay County, Florida. Bay Medical is a joint venture of Ardent and Ascension Sacred Heart. Ascension Florida includes three Sacred Heart Health System hospitals – in Pensacola, Miramar Beach and Port St. Joe – and St. Vincent’s HealthCare in Jacksonville.
Following damage from Hurricane Michael, Bay Medical is rebuilding in order to restore inpatient services in stages. Emergency services have been in continuous operation.
Ardent Americas Division President Matt Maxfield described the strength of Ardent’s joint venture partner Ascension, stating, “Ascension has demonstrated the power and value of our partnership throughout this post-hurricane period, especially with their ability to accept 230-plus patients who needed to be evacuated in the 48 hours following the hurricane.”
Patients were transferred by air and ground ambulance from Bay Medical to Ascension hospitals in Miramar Beach, Pensacola and Jacksonville, as well as Mobile, Alabama. Ascension has continued to accept the facility’s acutely ill emergency room patients who require hospitalization.
“The caregivers and physicians of Ascension Sacred Heart put forth tremendous effort to help the region, working closely with our colleagues at Bay Medical and our partners at Ardent, during and after Hurricane Michael,” said Tom VanOsdol, Senior Vice President, Ascension Healthcare, and Ministry Market Executive, Ascension Florida. “Going forward, we believe that Bay Medical will be best positioned to meet the evolving needs of the community as a full member of our Ascension Sacred Heart ministry. We look forward to the privilege of bringing the full strength, resources and clinical excellence of Ascension to bear in service to the families and individuals we are so blessed to serve in Panama City and Bay County.”
“We have engaged in a planning process with Ascension to determine the best possible path forward for Bay Medical. It became evident that becoming a wholly owned not-for-profit subsidiary of Ascension Sacred Heart Health System will allow appropriate matching of services to the needs of the post-hurricane community. Additionally, it affords regionalization of certain services such as trauma and heart care,” Maxfield said.
The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions.