WATERTOWN, Wis.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Board of Directors of Watertown Regional Medical Center (WRMC) has taken the next step in partnering with LifePoint Health (formerly LifePoint Hospitals) (NASDAQ: LPNT). The organizations have signed a definitive agreement to form a joint venture to share ownership and operation of the hospital. The proposed partnership will bring resources and support to improve quality care in south central Wisconsin. The agreement will now be reviewed by the Attorney General of Wisconsin.
“We are excited to reach this milestone in our journey to form a joint venture with LifePoint,” said Jeff Baum, Chairman of the WRMC Board of Directors. “As we explored this partnership in more depth in recent months, our belief that LifePoint is the ideal partner for our hospital and community has only been strengthened. WRMC and LifePoint share a commitment to local governance and dedication to delivering quality care close to home. Together, we will be able to enhance the healthcare services in this region and build a community health system of the future.”
Under the terms of the definitive agreement, LifePoint will own 80 percent of the joint venture, while WRMC and the community will retain a 20 percent ownership stake. As part of the deal, governance of the hospital will be shared equally through the creation of a board with equal representation from both WRMC and LifePoint. This board will help ensure strong local voice in the operation and strategic direction of WRMC.
Additionally, the joint venture will commit to $100 million in investments at WRMC over the next decade, including significant advancements in technology, the expansion of clinical services and initiatives, such as WRMC’s Wellness Initiative, and facility improvements. LifePoint also has committed to hiring all employees and investing in their futures.
“LifePoint and WRMC share a dedication to advancing the health and wellbeing of this region,” said John Kosanovich, President and CEO of WRMC. “Through this partnership, we will work to establish a strong network of healthcare services right here in Watertown, giving our community new opportunities to receive vital medical care locally. We look forward to the promising future ahead at WRMC with LifePoint as our strategic partner.”
Proceeds from the joint venture transaction will be used to pay off WRMC’s existing financial obligations, and the remaining assets will be used to create a substantial charitable foundation focused on community health.
Baum said, “Over the last century, the value of WRMC has been built, in part, on our community’s support. With the creation of our foundation, we can return this support by funding programs that will benefit the health and wellness of our region. ”
The foundation will be established as an independent, locally governed, non-profit organization.
As part of the joint venture, WRMC also will become a taxpaying organization, providing an important source of new tax revenue to support the local economy.
“WRMC has played a critical role in the Watertown community and greater Dodge and Jefferson counties for many years,” said LifePoint Chairman and Chief Executive Officer William F. Carpenter III. “Throughout this joint venture process, we have been honored to get to know so many of the dedicated physicians and employees who work every day to make this community healthier. We are delighted to have the opportunity to share this commitment as we find new ways to enhance care and strengthen and grow WRMC for the future.”
With the formation of the joint venture with LifePoint, WRMC's clinical affiliation with UW Health will change. WRMC intends to continue to collaborate with UW Health on local specialty care services where it makes sense. At the same time, WRMC and LifePoint are exploring opportunities to further enhance the care and specialty services provided by WRMC.
“Our top priority is ensuring that our patients have easy access to the healthcare services they need,” said Kosanovich. “We are working with LifePoint to develop a strategic plan that will strengthen our ability to deliver the care and specialty services that each and every person in our community may require.”
On July 1st, WRMC will update its brand and logo to reflect its new vision for the future.
About Watertown Regional Medical Center
A progressive regional health system which has served residents of South Central Wisconsin for more than 100 years, Watertown Regional Medical Center (WRMC) is working to redefine excellence in healthcare. Comprehensive programs of excellence in Women’s Health, Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Heart and Vascular and Pediatrics provide advanced care to the region. Our clinics throughout the region provide convenient access to both primary and specialty care with an emphasis on wellness and disease prevention.
About LifePoint Health
LifePoint Health (formerly LifePoint Hospitals) is a leading healthcare company dedicated to Making Communities Healthier®. Through its subsidiaries, it provides quality inpatient, outpatient and post-acute services close to home. LifePoint owns and operates community hospitals, regional health systems, physician practices, outpatient centers, and post-acute facilities in 20 states. It is the sole community healthcare provider in the majority of the non-urban communities it serves. More information about the company can be found at www.LifePointHealth.net. All references to "LifePoint," "LifePoint Health" or the "Company" used in this release refer to LifePoint Health, Inc. or its affiliates.