August 27, 2003 at 9:04 PM CDT - Updated June 23 at 1:41 PM
Two Heartland Hospitals Sold By: Wendy Ray
POPLAR BLUFF, MO --After only a few months on the market, two Heartland hospitals are sold to a new owner
. Three Rivers Healthcare in Poplar Bluff and Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center in Kennett now belong to Florida based Health Management Associates. They're just two of the five facilities Tenet sold to HMA as part of a $550-million deal. There was a mix of emotions among Poplar Bluff residents we talked with Tuesday. Some are happy about the news, others fear it's going to affect the care they receive.
Healthcare in Poplar Bluff is going to have a new look soon. As of December 31st, you can change the sign in front of Three Rivers Healthcare from Tenet Health System to Health Management Associates. Ed Dust is the Vice President of Poplar Bluff's Chamber of Commerce. His only concern about the hospital being sold is what the chamber can do to make the new owners feel welcome. "I think anytime you have a new company come into town it's a positive impact if you make it that way and we're going to make it that way," Dust says.
But not everyone feels that way. It's only been three years since Tenet merged the old Doctors Regional and Lucy Lee Hospital into Three Rivers. Change in ownership once again is a little unsettling to Poplar Bluff resident Pamela Hunter. "I like it just the way it is, I have gone there all my life. If we go under new management how will I know if I get the same services I'm used to? Prices may go up, physicians prices may go up, if that happens what am I going to do, I'll be stuck," she says.
Questions and concerns like Hunter's are still up in the air. Even Three Rivers' staff is waiting for everything to be finalized, that should happen in a few months. Until then everyone's waiting for their new owner, HMA, to make the next step.
When we asked administrators at Three Rivers to comment on the sale they directed us to a written release which says Tenet is happy with the sale and expects the new owners will continue providing quality health care to the community.