University to purchase Trinity for $16 million

Trinity Hospital in Augusta Thursday afternoon March 30, 2017. MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF

University Hospital will buy former competitor Trinity Hospital of Augusta for $16 million, University’s boards voted today. The purchase will close on June 30.

The Richmond County Hospital Authority and the corporate boards of University voted unanimously to acquire the 231-bed facility, which recently celebrated its 65th birthday. The hospital would become a University property on July 1 once the purchase from Quorum Health Corp. is completed. The deal was announced back in March but had to be approved by the authority and University’s boards. The boards were also scheduled to discuss capital improvements for Trinity, including a new roof. Department leaders at University have been meeting with counterparts at Trinity about their needs while the deal was pending.

Trinity began as St. Joseph Hospital after the bishop of the then-Atlanta-Savannah Diocese called for a Catholic Hospital in Augusta in 1945 and the community raised a remarkable $330,000 to build it. As the smallest hospital in a competitive market, the hospital struggled financially for years and in the early 1990s had a potential deal to merge with University before the Federal Trade Commission put a stop to it. The hospital was sold in 20006 and became Trinity the following year. But some elements of faith-based care remained and it continued to have daily prayer and weekly mass in its chapel. The chapel, however, will be deconsecrated next month after a final mass by Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer of the Diocese of Savannah.

University had previously purchased the financially struggling McDuffie Regional Medical Center in Thomson in 2012, and built a new 25-bed replacement hospital renamed University Hospital McDuffie in 2015.

Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or tom.corwin@augustachronicle.com.

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