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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Sale of St. Francis hospitals near

By Rick Daysog
Advertiser Staff Writer

The sale of St. Francis hospitals on O'ahu to a group led by dozens of Filipino-American doctors is nearing completion.

The Hawaii Physicians Group LLC, which comprises about 100 local physicians, and Wichita, Kan.-based Cardiovascular Hospitals of America LLC said in a news release yesterday they reached an agreement over the weekend to acquire the St. Francis Medical Center in Liliha and St. Francis Medical Center-West in 'Ewa.

"We believe that Hawaii Physicians Group and CHA will continue the remarkable work of the Sisters here in Hawai'i and we are grateful that our negotiations have reached a successful conclusion," said Sister Beatrice Tom, chief executive officer of St. Francis Healthcare Systems of Hawaii.

The hospital's current operator, St. Francis Healthcare, is a Catholic healthcare provider whose roots go back to the arrival of Franciscan sisters in Hawai'i in 1883.

Adib Farha, CHA's executive vice president, said both sides expect to finalize an asset purchase agreement shortly. The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, requires approval from federal Medicare and Medicaid officials and the Catholic Church.

According to Tom, the buyers have agreed to retain all 1,400 employees at the two hospitals.

The Hawaii Physicians Group and CHA had been negotiating with St. Francis since spring 2005 to purchase the two local hospitals. The local group beat out about half a dozen suitors, including Queen's Health Systems, Kaiser Permanente Hawaii and Hawaii Pacific Health operator of Straub Clinic & Hospital and Kapi'olani Health.

The Hawaii Physicians Group is led by Dr. Danelo Canete, who is past president of the Philippine Medical Association. The local group will own 49 percent of the St. Francis hospitals. The group includes about 30 local doctors of Filipino-American ancestry.

CHA, founded in 2002, operates several physician-run hospitals on the Mainland. The Kansas company, which will own 51 percent stake in the local hospitals, will handle St. Francis' administrative functions.

Reach Rick Daysog at rdaysog@honoluluadvertiser.com.