By Mary Wade Burnside
Times West Virginian
The process for seeking a strategic partner for Fairmont General Hospital continues, said CEO Robert C. Marquardt, with the search narrowed down from an initial field of 11 to two facilities.
Hospital officials announced at the end of 2011 that they would seek a strategic partner to take over the facility, especially in light of the health care changes that will be coming next year with the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed by Congress in March 2010 and signed by President Barack Obama.
“We’re still talking to two potential partners,” Marquardt said Monday evening after the combined annual meeting and January monthly meeting.
Asked if the partners were in or out of state, Marquardt replied, “There is one of each.”
The hospital hired New York-based Cain Bros., an investment banking firm that specializes in hospital mergers and acquisitions. Eventually, the hospital signed nondisclosure deals with 11 facilities. The two remaining facilities were part of the original group, Marquardt said.
Previously, he has declined to state whether or not the West Virginia United Health System (WVUHS), which owns WVU Hospitals and United Hospital Center in Bridgeport and whose officials had expressed an interest, was one of the remaining parties in the discussions.
“We’re just in a long, protracted negotiation,” he said.
Asked if one of the two facilities would yield a positive result in the process, Marquardt replied, “I think one or the other will. I think the issue is still to find the right fit for Fairmont General. The best partner is sometimes not the fastest partner.”