Baptist Health System forms joint venture with Triad Hospitals

Baptist Health System forms joint venture with Triad Hospitals

June 13, 2006

6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- Baptist Health System of East Tennessee is forming a joint venture with Triad Hospitals, Inc. 

Baptist and Triad signed a letter of intent to form a company that will run Baptist's four hospitals in Knoxville and Newport. Those are Baptist Hospital of East Tennessee, Baptist Hospital West, Baptist Hospital for Women, Baptist Hospital of Cocke County.

Triad will have 80 percent ownership of the new company. Baptist will retain 20 percent ownership. Also, the new company will keep the Baptist name.

All Baptist workers will stay on at their current compensation and "comparable benefits."

Lisa Lovett, who works in biomedical services at Baptist downtown, said after a meeting to inform employees about the new venture, "It seems like a positive atmosphere, everyone seemed to be really for it."

When asked if employees now feel better about the stability of their jobs, she added, "Oh yeah, I think having an answer is a positive thing."

Baptist President and CEO Warren Payne said in a statement, "Triad is an excellent company with a similar mission and culture to baptist. Triad has extensive experience in hospital management, physician and employee relations and community involvement."

Recent published reports showed Baptist had operating losses of $9.4 million at the end of the last fiscal year. The year before that, there were $26 million in losses.

The chairman of Baptist's board of trustees said the partnership will allow Baptist to immediately pay off its $217 million in debt.   

Triad was selected after a nine month process led by a strategic planning task force of Baptist board members and physicians.

Currently, Triad owns and manages 51 hospitals and 12 ambulatory surgery centers in 16 states. It has one facility in Tennessee. That's Gateway Health System in Crossville. Triad is based in Plano, Texas.

Physicians will make up at least 50 percent of the Board of Trustees at each hospital. They will also be given an immediate opportunity to invest in the new company.

The transaction is not final yet. It must still be approved by the Executive Board of the Tennessee Baptist Convention and the state attorney general.

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