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Duke LifePoint, WestCare deal likely by spring

Posted: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 2:00 pm

A corporate jet, a CEO who makes nearly $9 million a year in compensation, 58 hospitals totaling 6,565 beds in 20 states and more than 29,000 employees – if Duke LifePoint Healthcare buys WestCare, the nonprofit organization would join the seventh largest for-profit, acute-care hospital network in the nation.

WestCare Health System President and CEO Steve Heatherly said he expects to see an agreement signed within 30 to 45 days and the transaction completed in early spring.

The Duke University Health System, in previous hospital deals with LifePoint, has received a 3-percent stake in acquisitions. LifePoint would call the shots in day-to-day operations and overall financial strategy, plus the company would shape the work culture at WestCare’s two hospitals, 86-bed Harris Regional Hospital and 25-bed Swain County Hospital.

In choosing Duke LifePoint, WestCare rejected Mission Health, the largest hospital in Western North Carolina and the region’s main medical referral center. Mission Vice President Jon Yeatman said he could not elaborate on the Asheville hospital’s offer.

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