Boca Raton Regional Hospital announced Thursday it is entering into “strategic partnership” discussions with BaptistHealth South Florida. If the talks are successful, the Palm Beach County facility would join the region’s largest hospital network.
“While this was a most difficult choice, one that was between two of the finest healthcare providers in the country, our Trustees believe Baptist is the best fit for Boca Regional,” Jerry Fedele, the hospital’s CEO and president, said in a statement.
The hospital, which contains 400 beds and employs 2,200 people including 800 physicians, said its board and a special committee spent the last year vetting a dozen candidates that could serve as a partner. It did not identify the institutions. Among other things, the the hospital said it was looking to “mitigate the challenges of stand-alone organization” and gain “greater access to capital.”
“It is important to underscore that if this initiative reaches fruition and Boca Regional joins Baptist, we as an entity will survive post- partnership,” said Thomas Chakurda, vice president of marketing, in an emailed statement. “It will be a partnership that respects our medical staff models and relationship with Florida Atlantic University in academic medicine, recognizes the importance and magnitude of our volunteer program, the extraordinary philanthropic support we receive and retains meaningful local governance and influence.”
Chakurda said the prospective combination would not be a purchase by BaptistHealth. “We are looking to effect a relationship to join a larger system and realize the benefits,” he said.
Founded in 1967, the hospital serves the northern tier of Broward County and half of Palm Beach County. For some specialty services, it draws patients from around the state. It considers its strengths to be oncology, the neurosciences, cardiovascular care, women’s health, orthopedics, emergency medicine and physical rehabilitation.
The hospital said the “next steps” in the process will include due diligence and the negotiation of a letter of intent “that would frame the completion of definitive agreements prior to Boca Raton Regional joining the Baptist organization.”
The two sides are looking to reach an agreement by December of this year, Chakurda said.
“We are most confident we can reach a final agreement and that our inclusion in the Baptist System will make the whole of the new organization greater than the sum of its parts,” said Dick Schmidt, a former hospital board chair who headed a steering committee that conducted the selection process.
For its part, BaptistHealth said Boca Raton Regional is a good fit from a strategic standpoint. Both are nonprofit institutions.
“Boca Raton Regional Hospital aligns strategically with our organization and our plans to improve access to quality healthcare in our region,” BaptistHealth said in a statement. “We share not-for-profit values of exceptional quality and service for our patients, high physician and employee engagement and a commitment to the communities we serve.”
The talks with Boca Raton Regional represent BaptistHealth’s second foray into Palm Beach County in a year. In 2017, it took over Bethesda Hospital, which maintains locations in Boynton Beach and Wellington.
BaptistHealth employs 19,500 people including 3,000 doctors, and has more than 2,200 beds across nine hospitals in South Florida.
Source: Sun Sentinel