After recently obtaining a hospital license to operate a 32-bed freestanding psychiatric hospital on its North National Avenue campus, Ozarks Community Hospital has sold the license, facility and real estate.
Perimeter Springfield Realty LLC on Oct. 26 bought the 2828 N. National Ave. property – a day after the state license was issued – and the psychiatric facility is now operating as Springfield Behavioral Hospital, according to those familiar with the deal.
Todd Lutes, a longtime OCH employee and now hospital administrator of SBH, confirmed the sale amount of $7.5 million on a deed of trust filed in the Greene County assessor’s office. Pinnacle Bank deeded the property to Perimeter Springfield Realty LLC and Springfield Behavioral Hospital LLC.
SBH, a subsidiary of Alpharetta, Georgia-based Perimeter Healthcare LLC, treats adolescent, adult and geriatric patients, Lutes said. SBH has contracted with OCH to utilize psychiatrists, psychologists and medical doctors, who remain employed by OCH. He said a total of 50 employees, consisting of a mix of OCH and Perimeter employees, are on staff. Officials say no jobs were cut in the deal.
“We’re still hiring. As we continue to get more patients, we’ll just keep adding as we continue to grow,” Lutes said, estimating the employee count could reach 100 employees within a year.
Paul Taylor, OCH’s CEO, said in a news release OCH providers will continue to provide health care at the SBH facility, as well as at its clinics at 1540 E. Evergreen St. and 105 S. Ridgecrest Ave., in Nixa. The Gravette, Arkansas-based OCH Health System also operates a hospital in northwest Arkansas and a dozen clinics in rural communities throughout the Ozarks. According to the release, the sale of the hospital and real estate doesn’t change the current services.
“OCH has always been focused on providing access to health care in the communities we serve – ownership has never been an important part of that mission,” Taylor said in the release. “We are excited about the services Perimeter will be providing on the campus we called home for over 25 years.”
OCH officials had been preparing the campus for a psychiatric hospital for about a year but was not otherwise using the facility. In November 2017, Taylor announced plans for OCH to reopen its north-side facility as a psychiatric hospital during Springfield Business Journal’s 12 People You Need to Know live interview series.
The hospital occupies roughly 25,000 square feet of the 110,000-square-foot facility on 23 acres, but Lutes said future expansion – both within the existing square footage and as an addition to the property – is possible.
“If the volume is there – and we know it is – that’s going to be a definite possibility for us down the road to add more beds,” Lutes said, noting any bed additions would require renovations and plan approvals from the state.
Potential facility operators apply for city zoning approvals.
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