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Firm Agrees to Buy Fountain Valley Hospital : Health care: Tennessee-based OrNda HealthCorp seeks to enlarge its regional base. It owns 16 facilities in Southland.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

In an attempt to enlarge a regional hospital chain in Orange County, a Tennessee-based hospital operator has agreed to buy the 413-bed Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center.

OrNda HealthCorp in Nashville agreed to buy the hospital Monday night from the Fountain Valley Medical Development Co., a 102-member partnership that owns it, said Thomas Ways, chief executive of the partnership.

In addition, Howard Levine, 44, administrator of an OrNda-owned hospital in Orange, was appointed this week to head OrNda’s network of hospitals in Orange County.

Levine said OrNda’s purchase of the Fountain Valley hospital has not yet been approved by OrNda’s board of directors. It is also subject to other regulatory approvals.

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The proposed purchase is part of an overall plan to create a network of hospitals in Southern California. OrNda already has 16 hospitals in Southern California and is looking to expand its network further.

“Now we will have a greater market share in Orange County than any other company,” Levine said. “In anticipation of health-care reform, this will give patients access to an alliance of low-cost, high-quality care.”

Ways said the deal was attractive to the partnership, which has owned the hospital since its opening in 1971, because the hospital will be able to become part of that network and its patients will gain access to additional medical resources of other hospitals.

“This is a continuation of the steps toward consolidation taking place across the nation in the hospital industries,” Ways said.

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Publicly held OrNda completed a merger April 18 with Summit Health Ltd. and American Healthcare Management Inc., making itself into a $1.5-billion company with 46 hospitals in the nation. OrNda owns Chapman General in Orange, Doctor’s Hospital of Santa Ana, Santa Ana Hospital Medical Center and Coastal Communities Hospital in Costa Mesa.

The merger makes OrNda a force in Southern California, but by no means is it a dominant player, said David Langness, spokesman for the Hospital Council of Southern California, a Los Angeles group.

“Everyone is creating alliances and networks with an eye toward being a major player when health-care reform takes effect,” he said. “Usually the individual hospitals are not affected in their operations if the buyers are smart.”


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