- HCA Healthcare, one of the biggest hospital operators in the U.S., is acquiring Steward Health Care's entire hospital footprint in Utah to meet rising demand in the state, the system announced Monday.
- The deal will add five hospitals to Nashville-based HCA's Mountain Division, which currently includes 11 hospitals in Utah, Idaho and Alaska. The acquisition is attractive to HCA as "Utah is one of the fastest-growing areas in the country, and the state's need for healthcare continues to increase," HCA CEO Sam Hazen said in a statement.
- For its part, divesting the five Utah facilities will help Steward grow in other geographies and frees up capital for the Dallas-based system to invest more in its accountable care model, which is the largest private physician-led model in the U.S.
Currently, HCA runs 187 hospitals and roughly 2,000 ambulatory sites of care in the U.S. and the United Kingdom. But the massive for-profit operator, known in Utah as MountainStar Healthcare, is expanding its presence in the West to meet demand stemming from the state's population increase.
According to the 2020 Census, Utah's population has grown by 18.4% over the past decade, making it the fastest-growing state in the U.S. — and opening up new market opportunities for providers.
"We believe the addition of these facilities will help us improve healthcare network options for patients and enable investment in services to meet increasing demand for healthcare," Hazen said.
The Steward-owned hospitals in Utah being acquired by HCA are Davis Hospital in Layton, Jordan Valley Medical Center in West Jordan, Jordan Valley Medical Center-West Valley Campus, Mountain Point Medical Center in Lehi and Salt Lake Regional Medical Center in Salt Lake City.
For Steward, the deal will allow the 11-year-old system to "more deliberately invest" in its physician-led ACO, the largest in the nation and No. 2 for shared savings in the Medicare Shared Savings Program last year.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Following the transaction, Steward will operate 39 hospitals around the world, including 34 in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas, as well as five internationally, in Malta and Colombia.
Adding five additional Utah facilities should allow HCA to better compete against Intermountain Healthcare, currently the largest provider in Utah.
On Thursday, Intermountain announced plans to merge with Colorado-based nonprofit SCL Health, expanding Intermountain's footprint to Colorado, Montana and Kansas and forming an $11 billion system with 33 hospitals across the U.S.
The high-profile deals come as the Biden administration looks to intensify scrutiny on hospital mergers as M&A within the industry continues at a rapid clip, as research indicates lack of industry competition has led to price increases without improving quality of care.
In an executive order signed in July, President Joe Biden directed regulatory agencies to vigorously enforce antitrust laws, shortly after the FTC said it plans to prioritize healthcare in its enforcement strategy over the next decade.