Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

BayCare hopes to acquire first hospital outside Tampa Bay area

BayCare Health System, the leading health care player in Tampa Bay, expects to acquire another hospital for the first time since its creation 15 years ago, expanding its reach into Polk County.

BayCare officials said Wednesday they plan to purchase Winter Haven Hospital. If the deal goes through, it would become the latest independent hospital to join a larger organization. The trend of consolidation in health care is growing as providers cope with rising costs and a transforming system.

The nonprofit BayCare, which got its start when a group of area hospitals joined forces to be more competitive, currently operates the St. Joseph's hospitals in Tampa, St. Anthony's in St. Petersburg and the Morton Plant Mease hospitals in mid Pinellas.

BayCare controls more than a third of the hospital business in the Tampa Bay market, and has constructed new facilities over the years. But Winter Haven marks its first hospital outside its core communities in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco.

"Even as big as we are, we can get greater economies of scale," said BayCare President and CEO Steve Mason.

The U.S. health care system is expanding its focus from caring for the sick to emphasize wellness and prevention. Insurers such as Medicare increasingly are penalizing providers for poor performance, and reimbursements are shrinking.

BayCare, like other organizations, needs to provide better quality, lower-cost care for large populations of patients.

For 527-bed Winter Haven Hospital, the benefits would be immediate. It expects to save as much as $1.5 million buying pharmaceuticals and supplies with BayCare's negotiating power.

Its patients could gain better access to advanced procedures in pediatrics and neurology available at St. Joseph's, said Winter Haven President Lance Anastasio.

After discussing consolidation with several large health systems, Winter Haven decided BayCare was the best fit.

"We think our values and vision and culture are all very congruent," Anastasio said.

BayCare and Winter Haven have signed a letter of intent, which will allow both parties to explore consolidation over the next four months. If all pans out as expected, Winter Haven would join BayCare in early to mid 2013, officials said.

Mason said BayCare could be interested in additional hospitals just outside of Tampa Bay, although it doesn't see itself as a statewide corporation. But it has not been talking with St. Petersburg's Bayfront Medical Center, another independent hospital interested in "strategic" partnerships.

"Every freestanding hospital in the state of Florida is looking at some kind of consolidation," Mason said.

In Tampa Bay, two other standalone hospitals — All Children's Hospital and University Community Hospital — recently joined larger organizations. All Children's is now part of John Hopkins Medicine, while Florida Hospital/Adventist Health System bought University Community.

BayCare hopes to acquire first hospital outside Tampa Bay area 08/29/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 9:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pinellas receives two charter school applications


    Following a two-year dry spell, the Pinellas County school district has received two new applications to open charter schools in St. Petersburg.

    Windsor Preparatory Academy in St. Petersburg could be home to Pinellas Academy of Math and Science's St. Petersburg campus. The Pinellas County school district received a charter school application from that school's leadership this fall to open in 2018.
  2. Southern Heritage group draws fire for posting personal information of Confederate statue opponents


    TAMPA — Curtiss Wilson is an 89-year-old Tampa resident who fought in the civil rights movement.

    A report by Save Southern Heritage Florida includes the "affiliation" of more than 100 people who spoke at the July 19 commission meeting in favor of removing  the Confederate monument from in front of the old county courthouse in Tampa. People on the list say the report was meant to intimidate and harrass opponents of the monument. Save Southern Heritage director Doug Guetzloe said the report is "opposition research" meant to to inform elected officials about who was speaking on the issue.
[Save Southern Heritage Florida]
  3. Gen. Votel interview: 'A bit of a stalemate' in Afghanistan, but a chance to optimize gains there


    In developing the plan for the war in Afghanistan that he announced Monday night, President Donald Trump consulted with advisers including his military leaders throyugh their chain of command.

  4. Water Street Tampa unveils video showing downtown's transformation


    TAMPA — Water Street Tampa, the sweeping, 50-plus acre redevelopment project in Tampa's urban core, has unveiled new images and video of what the downtown district will look like upon completion.

    Strategic Property Partners released a conceptual image of what the Tampa skyline will look like once its redevelopment of 50-plus acres of downtown will look like. [Photo courtesy of  of SPP]
  5. Bill Nelson shares Rick Scott's cautious stance on Confederate monuments


    On the issue of Confederate monuments, Sen. Bill Nelson is taking the cautious route of Gov. Rick Scott.