Several Spartanburg County elected officials said Monday they’ve learned that Greenville Health System is seeking to buy Mary Black Health System of Spartanburg, but the company that owns the hospital said Mary Black is not for sale.
“This is just a rumor,” said Tomi Galin, spokeswoman for Mary Black owner Community Health Systems of Franklin, Tenn., which last week announced the sale of 14 hospitals in an ongoing effort to downsize.
“We are very invested in Mary Black Health System and remain committed to this community and to providing quality care for local residents,” Galin said.
At least three members of the Spartanburg County Legislative Delegation — state Reps. Bill Chumley and Rita Allison and state Sen. Scott Talley — said they were told last week that GHS was pursuing buying the Mary Black Health System.
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Spartanburg County Councilman David Britt said he was told the specific price GHS is willing to pay for the hospital.
“I’ve been told there are serious discussions going on right now,” Britt said. “It doesn’t make any sense. It’s not in the best interest of Spartanburg or Greenville.”
Greenville Health System spokesman Dudley Brown said GHS is not pursuing the Mary Black system.
“GHS is not in negotiations to buy Mary Black,” he said.
Sean Dardeau, the CEO of Mary Black Health System, referred all questions to Community Health Systems.
Galin, with Community Health Systems, reiterated that there are no negotiations with GHS: “There are no discussions about a potential sale of Mary Black Health System.”
Last week, Community Health Systems announced the sale of 14 hospitals in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Texas and Mississippi. Community Health Systems is one of the largest hospital systems in the nation.
The Nashville Business Journal reported the sales are part of Community Health Systems’ continued effort to downsize after it picked up substantial debt in 2014 when it acquired Florida-based Health Management Associates.
In 2015, Community Health Systems announced plans to shed 38 hospitals, mostly in small markets, and shift its focus to large markets and regional networks.
Community Health Systems owns, leases or operates 146 hospitals with a total of 24,000 beds in 21 states. It has about 123,000 employees and 20,000 physicians on staff.
Mary Black-Spartanburg, Mary Black-Gaffney, the Mary Black Physicians Group and Mary Black Health Network have 332 licensed beds, more than 1,400 employees and more than 400 physicians on staff.
Last year, Greenville Health System announced 410 layoffs and a $39 million reduction in its capital budget to address a $16 million shortfall.
GHS has about 15,000 employees.