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Bayfront Medical Center plans partnership with Health Management Associates, affiliation with Shands

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Bayfront Medical Center, located in St. Petersburg, has plans to join the for-profit Health Management Associates.  Bayfront was one of the last independent hospitals in the Tampa region.

Health Management Associates, which operates 70 hospitals in 15 states, would gain an 80 percent controlling interest, according to an article from the Tampa Bay Times. A new not-for-profit group called Bayfront Health, Education and Research Organization or Bayfront HERO will control the remaining 20 percent.

Kanika Tomalin, vice president of strategic planning at Bayfront, told the Tampa Bay Times no layoffs are expected. Officials also said the partnership would allow Bayfront to retire about $80 million in debt.

Shands HealthCare, the medical center at the University of Florida, will become an affiliate of Bayfront for clinical, research and educational resources.

Tim Goldfarb, Shands HealthCare CEO, said if approved, the partnership would assist Bayfront to better handle economic pressures and health reform.

“We would listen very carefully to the medical staff in St. Petersburg and to the community to see how Shands might be able to help in delivering services at Bayfront,” Goldfarb said.

HMA has a history of working with UF and Shands, according to the article. In 2010, HMA gained a majority interest in three small Shands hospitals in Central Florida.

According to the Tampa Bay Times article, the St. Petersburg City Council must approve the deal because it owns the land where the hospital is located. The council will likely be asked to vote in mid-December.

Bayfront was established in 1906, and it is home to the only trauma center in Pinellas County. In addition, it is one of the largest employers in Pinellas County with about 2,500 employees.

Cassandra Vangellow wrote this story for online.

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