Vital Signs
In the five years since he and others sold rural hospital operator Province Healthcare to competitor LifePoint for a shade over $1 billion, Marty Rash has been on a tear.
 
Armed with both capital and time, he... along with a handful of fellow Province vets... have been involved with a raft of healthcare startups in a variety of fields ranging from hospital management to pathology to revenue cycle management.
 
Last month Rash and former Province COO John Rutledge announced the formation of RegionalCare Hospital Partners with a hefty chunk of private equity backing from Warburg Pincus. The company brings Rash, who has been involved with Abrio Healthcare Solutions, Goodlettsville-based healthcare software outfit Aionex, American Pathology Partners, and Earl Winter's revenue cycle firm nTelagent, back to more familiar ground in Province's old sector.
 
RegionalCare, which has secured up to $300 million worth of support from Warburg, plans to acquire and manage hospitals in non-urban environments, much the same as Province did.
 
While Rash has a proven track record, some who have entered the space in recent years have seen difficulty. Attentus Healthcare –– executives of which have now partnered with Rash in American Pathology –– couldn't ever gain sufficient traction despite strong financial backing and quietly folded its tent last year.
 
But if RegionalCare find legs and proves to be another successful outing, it will be interesting to see…down the road … if Rash and company can go two-for-two, selling a rural hospital operator to yet another local competitor. 
 
Given its previous difficulty in integrating its Province purchase and its more recent financial doldrums, it seems unlikely that LifePoint will pony up again. However, should industry darling Community Health Systems –– now the largest publicly-traded hospital company in the nation –– continue going strong as it has in recent years, RegionalCare could possibly prove to be an attractive acquisition prospect a few years down the line.
 
Just a thought.
 
 
Walker Duncan is a reporter at NashvillePost.com, a sister publication of Nashville Medical News. You can reach him at
walker.duncan@nashvillepost.com.