CEO of new hospital firm outlines expected changes

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 16, 2001

Triad CEO James D. “Denny” Shelton (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[05/16/01] A local board is one change new owners of River Region Health System plan for Vicksburg.

Triad Hospitals Inc., a Dallas-based company, closed its deal with Nashville-based Quorum Inc. on April 27 and Triad CEO James D. “Denny” Shelton visited Triad’s new investment Tuesday.

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River Region includes virtually all local health-care businesses and has a $122 million hospital under construction on U.S. 61 North.

The new owners are also having some say in the project begun by Quorum, Shelton said. A size increase has added a wing and 42 inpatient beds and the number of CAT labs will rise from two to three under Triad ownership.

The hospital, to replace ParkView and Vicksburg medical centers, is to be occupied in February. “We just wish it could be sooner,” Shelton said.

Triad, like Quorum, is a publicly traded corporation administered by a corporate board, but Shelton said people in Vicksburg should be involved.

“We would like to push the decision making about delivering health care to a local community board,” he said. “The board before was made up of physicians and Quorum people and we’ll change that. There will be no more corporate people on the local board.”

At least half of the new board will consist of physicians and the other board members will be people from the community and surrounding areas who may use the River Region services, he said.

Shelton said an advantage is that most Triad hospitals are the size of the facilities here.

“The hospitals that we operate look just like Vicksburg, Mississippi,” Shelton said. “The population that we deal with, we’re either the sole community provider or one of two hospitals in the area …. there are many other markets who have seen the same issues and know how to deal with it. I think there’s a lot of synergies that we get from working in like communities. That was really one of the cruxes of why we got the deal done, was the comparable markets.”

For almost all the last century, Vicksburg had competitive hospitals. Shelton said being a one-hospital town is not bad for consumers.

The number of hospitals has been decreasing over the past 25 years, he said, and when the hospitals were competing, neither could be the best it could be.

He also had high praise for Quorum’s design of the new hospital complex. “I have probably built more hospitals in the last 10-15 years of anybody in the industry,” he said, “and I tell you, this hospital being built out here is going to be one of the nicest in the United States.”

Shelton said the new hospital “will be one of the 10 best hospitals you will find anywhere in this country.”

Quorum, which previously had been a contract hospital management company only, bought Mercy Regional Medical Center from Mercy Health Systems Inc. in 1990. Earlier, Vicksburg Medical Center had been purchased by Columbia HCA. Eventually, the two hospitals, the two multi-specialty clinics and other clinics and treatment centers here were brought in the River Region umbrella with Quorum as the parent.

Under the terms of the agreement worked out by the boards of Quorum and Triad, Quorum stockholders will receive $3.50 in cash and 0.4107 share of Triad common stock for every share of Quorum stock. The stock portion of the deal will be tax free to Quorum stockholders.