Metropolitan Hospital of Miami to be sold

Metropolitan Hospital of Miami, a small private hospital struggling to compete in a changing market dominated by increasingly larger healthcare conglomerates, is being sold for the second time in seven years, according to several sources.

In a memo delivered Thursday to Metropolitan Hospital’s estimated 450 employees — with the subject, “Sale of Hospital” — Chief Executive Gene Marini urged the staff to continue working hard but made no promises that they would keep their jobs under the new owners.

“The hospital is in a sale process,’’ Marini wrote. “We hereby inform you that we have reached an agreement with the buyer, subject to a subsequent asset transfer in the upcoming months.’’

Marini’s memo hinted that some hospital employees may keep their jobs after interviews with the new buyer, whom he did not identify.

“We have prepared various areas to allow the buyer’s representatives to interview candidates and inform those selected about the terms and conditions of the service relationship,’’ he wrote.

Marini did not return a message left at his office Friday, and the hospital’s administrative office was not accepting calls in the afternoon. Metropolitan Hospital’s website also has been down since at least Friday morning.

The hospital’s sale price has not been disclosed, and the transaction requires approval from Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, which received a change of ownership application for Metropolitan Hospital on Jan. 15, said Shelisha Coleman, a spokeswoman.

Coleman said a new owner would be permitted to continue providing general acute care, such as surgeries and emergency medical services. The only restriction is that the hospital cannot limit its services to cardiac-, orthopedic- or cancer-related diseases, and neither can 65 percent or more of patient discharges fall within those diagnoses groups, Coleman said.

Formerly called Pan American Hospital, Metropolitan changed ownership and names in 2007, when a Puerto Rico hospital chain bought the facility out of bankruptcy court for $34 million.

Despite new owners and a smaller staff no longer represented by the SEIU Florida Healthcare Union, Metropolitan Hospital has been losing money for several years, according to financial data reported by hospitals to the state.

Metropolitan administrators reported losing $4.4 million in 2011 on operating expenses of about $43.8 million. That was a bigger loss than 2010, when the hospital lost about $1.3 million on operating expenses of $42.1 million.

The hospital, located near Miami International Airport, was founded in 1963 by Cuban immigrants to serve their community. It’s licensed for 146 beds and includes an emergency room.

But the hospital’s staff has declined steadily since 2006, when it had 681 employees. In 2011, Metropolitan had 470 full-time employees including 292 staff physicians, according to state records.

The hospital reported about 5,000 admissions in 2011, with patients experiencing an average length of stay of about five days. Its patients are predominantly Hispanic, and many are seniors on Original Medicare, in Medicare HMOs, such as Leon Medical Centers, and on Medicaid, according to state records

Read more Healthcare Reform stories from the Miami Herald

  • Power of Price

    Healthcare prices: Many moving parts veiled by confidentiality agreements

    The price of a medical procedure can vary greatly for consumers and their employers, depending on the hospital’s operating costs, the patient’s condition, and even who’s paying and how.

  • Power of Price

    Patients take on more of healthcare costs, but struggle to find prices

    Health plans with high out-of-pocket costs are pushing consumers to price shop for healthcare. But prices can be hard to find before a procedure, and most patients don’t find them until the hospital bill arrives.

  • Power of Price

    Power of Price: A glossary of healthcare terms

    As if healthcare pricing wasn’t complex enough, try talking about it without running into some conversation-stopping jargon. Words that mean one thing to the rest of the English-speaking world can mean something completely different in healthcare — like a “charge” that isn’t the same as the price.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category