Health One among interested Memorial buyers, CEO says

Potential buyers are already sniffing around Memorial Health System, including Health One, the largest hospital company in Denver.

The interest doesn’t surprise CEO Larry McEvoy. But he points out no firm offers can be entertained.

“And none can be,” he said, “not until the voters decide if they want to sell.”

Health One was not immediately available for comment.

The economic recession hasn’t stopped mergers and acquisitions in the health care market.

“One way to survive in health care is to build a bigger boat,” he said. “So groups are going to be interested, it’s not surprising. Our platform here is what I call, ‘wide and deep.’ We’re an attractive target.”

Memorial would be a great purchase for any hospital system – the city is growing and services are already in place, he said. The hospital controls 60 percent of the market.

It’s little wonder that interested buyers are watching the work of the commission closely.

“I’ve heard about Health One,” McEvoy said. “And the board and I have gotten phone calls from business brokers wanting to help sell the system.”

The hospital has been on buyers’ radars since 2008, when the city council again started discussing the sale of the hospital.

Memorial Commission chairman Steve Hyde mentioned the interest at Tuesday’s commission meeting, when the group passed a resolution that prohibits them from entering into discussions about the sale of Memorial without the rest of the commission present.

“I’ve had some contact with a proprietary hospital,” Hyde said. “I just told them that it was too early for the conversation. I did ask them for contacts with other cities who have sold their hospitals.”