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Heartland Hospitals for Sale

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Heartland Hospitals for Sale
By: Wendy Ray

(Poplar Bluff, MO)--Two Heartland hospitals are up for sale. Workers at Three Rivers Healthcare in Poplar Bluff and Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center in Kennett found out Tuesday their owner, Tenet Healthcare, has put them on the market. They're not shocked, in fact most say they saw it coming. Tenet had some problems late last year, but officials at Three Rivers say even though they're being sold, their patients have nothing to worry about.

Interim CEO Greg Carda says, "First and foremost we're still a Tenet facility, we're going to take care of patients like we've had." Patients are the top priority at Three Rivers Healthcare, but Carda also needs to take care of the 1,300 hundred people who work there. Right now, that means explaining to them what will happen, now that Tenet Healthcare has decided to sell Three Rivers. "Most of them have been through this before, those of them who worked at Doctors Regional have gone through it six times or so, so they know nothing really changes," he says. Tenet merged the old Doctors Regional and Lucy Lee Hospital into Three Rivers three years ago.

It's one of 14 hospitals Tenet decided to sell, so it can focus on hospitals in bigger cities. There's no word yet on who will buy Three Rivers, or how much it will cost. Even though Carda says the quality of care won't be affected by Tenet selling Three Rivers, Poplar Bluff Medical Partners and Saint Francis Medical Center are building a new hospital, saying they want to meet the healthcare needs in the Poplar Bluff community, but that hospital is waiting for a certificate of need.

That certificate comes from the state, and may be needed for construction to move forward. Greg Carda says a new owner won't change things at Three Rivers, in fact it may mean more nurses and even better service. We asked Three Rivers patients what they think it will mean. Chris Smith of Poplar Bluff says, "We go to Three Rivers a lot. I don't know, my wife's mom's in there right now, we think it's a good hospital." Debbie Zovist of Highland, Illinois says, "If it improves healthcare for everyone it may be good." While Sherry Smith of Poplar Bluff says, "I don't know it may be better, we'll just have to wait and see."

It will take anywhere from three to 12 months for Tenet to sell both the Poplar Bluff and Kennett hospitals. Until then, it's business as usual.

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