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St. Pete City Council OKs lease with Orlando Health, paving the way for Bayfront Health acquisition

The city owns the land, making the lease agreement crucial for the acquisition.

St. Petersburg City Council approved a 50-year agreement to lease land Bayfront Health currently occupies in downtown St. Pete in order for Orlando Health to move forward with acquiring the hospital.

Orlando Health signed an agreement with Community Health Systems to purchase Bayfront health St. Petersburg.

“This is an exciting time for the St. Petersburg community, Bayfront and Orlando Health,” said David Strong, president and CEO of Orlando Health.  “Our acquisition of Bayfront Health will make Orlando Health stronger.”

Bayfront health is a 480-bed hospital and level II trauma and tertiary care center. It also includes comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation located on its campus.

The agreement also includes Bayfront Health’s ambulatory surgery center, its convenient care clinics, imaging center, wound care and hyperbaric center, Pinellas Park emergency department and several physician practices.

“The Bayfront Health St. Petersburg’s name holds great value in its community and will be maintained,” Strong said. “The hospital will continue to offer its current services to the community, and we will actively listen to the team members, physicians and the community regarding what additional services need to be added.”

Hospital executives expect the deal to close September 30, but it is still subject to regulatory approvals and closing conditions.

Orlando Health’s agreement to purchase Bayfront Health came about a year after St. Petersburg City Council members expressed reservations about hospital leadership.

City Council had more oversight of the hospital than others because it is on city-owned land. The hospital also is required to provide care to all, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay, making it a cornerstone health care amenity in the city.

Orlando Health’s agreement includes a provision requiring it to continue providing charity care.

The hospital had a series of struggles in recent years including a spate of layoffs and top-level resignations, including former CEO John McLain and Chief Financial Officer Pamela Modisett.

The hospital also ended its partnership with the University of South Florida and faced a Department of Justice investigation into its charity care finances.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at Janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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