Baptist Health completes purchase of E’town hospital, which it has managed for 20+ years; changes name to Baptist Health Hardin

Baptist Health, which has managed Hardin Memorial Hospital in Elizabethtown for more than 20 years, has completed a long-delayed purchase of the 300-bed facility and given it a new name: Baptist Health Hardin. It is the ninth hospital in the Baptist Health system.

“The transaction includes $361.4 million in payments and future investments,” a Baptist Health press release said. “The closing came about three years after the Hardin Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees signed a letter of intent to pursue the sale,” and five years after they started seeking a buyer. The release said they received “about three dozen proposals.”

“This is a great day in the history of this community and our health system,” said Hardin County Judge-Executive Harry Berry, who was the hospital board’s chair. “The hospital board sought the best solution to continue providing the excellent healthcare that our community — and 10-county service area — have come to expect. We found that solution in Baptist Health, which has helped guide us so successfully for more than 20 years.”

Baptist Health CEO Gerard Colman said, “You can expect the same quality healthcare you’ve come to know from familiar faces. You can also expect groundbreaking ceremonies, ribbon cuttings and announcements about new providers in the future as Baptist Health delivers on its promises to invest in the health of this community.”

In the purchase agreement, Baptist Health promised $235 million in investments over 10 years in operating and capital investments. The release said it would invest a minimum of $150 million in the first five years for new facilities, recruit more physicians and upgrade equipment and information technology.

At closing, Baptist paid the county $60 million, less the amount used in July to fully fund the Hardin Memorial defined benefit pension plan for current employees and retirees, plus another $66.4 million over 25 years. It will provide up to $150,000 per year for 25 years for health-care services historically provided to inmates of the county jail.

“President Dennis Johnson and other senior leaders have been retained,” the release said. “Employment was offered to all employees at their current pay.”