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Florida Hospital chain to buy Bayfront Health Dade City

Adventist Health System, the parent company of Florida Hospital, announced Tuesday that it plans to buy Bayfront Health Dade City hospital and its related outpatient services.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018, which will make it the 11th hospital in the chain to join the West Florida Division of Adventist Health System, according to a press release. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals.

"We are excited about the opportunity to offer advanced health care services in Dade City that match the needs of the community and deliver the Florida Hospital brand of inspired, whole-person care," Mike Schultz, president and CEO of the Adventist Health System West Florida Division, said in a statement.

The sale includes the 120-bed hospital at 13100 Fort King Road, some physician clinic operations and outpatient services, the release said.

Community Health Systems, which owns six Bayfront Health hospitals along Florida's Gulf Coast from Brooksville to Venice, is one of the nation's largest owners and operators of hospitals, with 137 of them in 21 states. The company has struggled financially in recent years, posting heavy net losses quarter after quarter and has sold dozens of under-performing hospitals from its portfolio. CHS stock also has plummeted over the last three years.

Bayfront Health Dade City has mirrored its owner's fortunes, holding a reputation as a financially struggling hospital. The current ownership will remain in place until the deal closes next year.

The Florida Hospital chain has been aggressively expanding in the state. Earlier this year Adventist Health System paid $14.5 million for 103 acres along Interstate 4 just west of Florida Polytechnic University with plans to build a freestanding emergency room and a possible 200-bed hospital in the next decade, if demand in the Lakeland region warrants it.

Florida Hospital has more than 25 hospitals and clinics in the Sunshine State, with a number of them clustered around the Tampa Bay region, in the Orlando area and in Daytona Beach. The system employs more than 7,000 physicians and health care professionals in the state. Its parent, Adventist, is one of the nation's largest health care companies, with 45 hospitals across nine states.

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The purchase of the Dade City hospital will strengthen Florida Hospital's existing health care systems in both Zephyrhills and Wesley Chapel. The company employs nearly 1,000 people in Wesley Chapel and recently wrapped up a $78 million expansion there.

Contact Justine Griffin at or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.