By Fallan Patterson, For the News-Gazette:
By summer’s end, St. Cloud Regional Medical Center will be fully acquired by Orlando Health, increasing its 15-year partnership between the two intenties.
The 84-bed facility, located on 17th Street, is currently owned by Community Health Systems. Subject to customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions, the sale, which would give Orlando Health full ownership of the Osceola County facility, is expected to be completed this summer.
Brent Burish, CEO of St. Cloud Regional Medical Center, called the hospital “an important part” of the Osceola community and said patients can expect the same “safe, quality care” at the hospital after the acquisition.
“We’ve watched Orlando Health as they’ve grown and developed in their services for a larger region and we’re proud of our affiliation,” Burish added.
This merger has been in the works for months as Orlando Health weighed financial and market analysis as well as if the hospital and healthcare company would mutually benefit one another.
Orlando Health implied in a press release they have been considering this move for years, determining if acquiring the St. Cloud hospital aligned with the company’s goals and culture, would strengthen both intenties and their ties in the community, and improve and expand patient care.
“We’re looking forward to expanding our high-quality, community-focused healthcare into this important community,” David Strong, president and CEO of Orlando Health, said. “St. Cloud will benefit from Orlando Health’s attention to enhanced customer experience and innovation that delivers life-changing treatments for patients.”
While Orlando Health declined to comment on specifics prior to the sale’s finality, the healthcare company stated in a press release that the company will “enhance the quality, customer experience and innovative treatments at this institution while positively impacting the communities it serves.”
St. Cloud Mayor Nathan Blackwell expects the merger to allow the hospital better serve the community’s residents.
"Over the last several years, we have seen our area’s health care needs evolve. As our community continues to grow, we need to look into the future and adjust with the community needs,” Blackwell said. “This is also an opportunity for our community to thrive as we move into the future.”
St. Cloud Regional Medical Center is one of four hospitals Community Health Systems has entered into definitive agreements to sell in the last three months; the three other hospitals being sold are located in Texas. CHS owns 97 medical facilities in 17 states, including 13 additional hospitals in Florida.
These sales were discussed as part of planned deals in CHS’ fourth quarter earnings call in December 2019 where it was revealed the company showed a 4.8 percent decrease in revenue over the same period in 2018.
The St. Cloud merger will bring the number of Orlando Health’s fully-owned properties to 13, including Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, UF Health Cancer Center Orlando and Dr. P. Phillips Hospital.
St. Cloud Regional Medical Center opened in 1964. The hospital opened an expanded emergency department and front entrance in October 2019.