Cottage Hospital crept one step further in its ongoing campaign to merge with Sansum Clinic, announcing it had found a prospective purchaser of its outpatient surgical center located on the 2400 block of Castillo Street by Oak Park. The Federal Trade Commission has insisted that Cottage divest itself of the surgical center as a necessary precondition for approval of the merger out of concern about a medical monopoly and chilling effect on surgical competition. Both Cottage and Sansum have such centers, and if the two merge, no entities will exist that can provide competitive services.
Cottage issued a press release naming United Surgical Partners International as its prospective partner. The company was recently purchased by Tenet Healthcare — formerly headquartered in Santa Barbara — and boasts 249 “ambulatory” surgical clinics, 18 short-stay surgical hospitals, and 20 imaging centers in 29 states. According to business news, United Surgical Partners typically partners with existing hospitals and offers management expertise in running the lucrative surgical clinics. It’s not clear whether Cottage intends to sell its clinic outright to United Surgical or allow the company to run it. Cottage officials state it will take five months to conduct the due diligence necessary to determine whether the transaction passes muster.