For GSHS, the process of finding a suitor starts again

Press Release
President and CEO Steve Altmiller expressed confidence in his board of directors Wednesday to select a willing replacement for Duke LifePoint Health System, which decided this week not to acquire Good Shepherd. The decision ends at least
four months of discussions.

A memorandum of understanding between the two organizations expired Sept. 30, and Altmiller said it won’t be renewed.

Altmiller learned of Tennessee- based Duke LifePoint’s decision during a phone call with administrators Monday and made the announcement public Wednesday.

“I’d use the two words ‘surprised’ and ‘disappointed,’” Altmiller said, adding that Good Shepherd and Duke LifePoint “had developed a 100-day action plan to make improvements across several areas involving administration, directors and front-line staff.”

Altmiller said, Talks have begun to find another possible partner.”
“We started the whole conversation probably Monday evening,” he said. Good Shepherd board members and directors are talking with other health systems, including those who submitted proposals to acquire Good Shepherd but were not selected.

Altmiller declined to say what led to Duke LifePoint’s decision, or whether Good Shepherd’s estimated $145 million debt and its lack of profitability were factors.

“Administrators have been up front with people who have interviewed or were recruited for Good Shepherd jobs about the health system’s pursuit of a suitor,” Altmiller added.

He said he’s mindful of employees who endured changes in their benefits and a lack of pay raises in recent years, saying they have put a lot of personal investment in the organization.

“We just regroup,” Altmiller said. “I would hope that people don’t make assumptions about what this means other than we’re taking care of patients and we’re trying to find a suitor and we know there’s a suitor out there.”

Duke LifePoint was formed in 2011, combining nonprofit Duke University’s clinical health expertise with forprofit LifePoint’s business systems and resources.

Since late 2014, LifePoint Health has acquired eight hospitals and health systems, expanding to 72 hospitals in 22 states. It also showed a cautious propensity when LifePoint CEO Bill Carpenter slowed down a deal to acquire another hospital after he worried his health system was being rushed into the acquisition because of that hospital’s financial situation, according to

Last week, Zacks Investment Research firm downgraded LifePoint Hospitals’ stock…

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