Cottage Health Systems and Sansum Clinic moved a step closer to their proposed merger as Cottage found a potential buyer for its Santa Barbara Outpatient Surgery Center, Cottage announced Sept. 28.
Cottage tasked New York-based investment banking firm Cain Brothers & Co. to find a possible suitor and they came up with United Surgical Partners International, a healthcare provider based in Pasadena. The potential sale price has not been disclosed, said Cottage spokeswoman Maria Zate.
USPI needs to complete an appraisal of the center before an agreement is reached and sent to the Federal Trade Commission. Cottage expects the process to take at least five more months, the company said in a news release.
Cottage, the Santa Barbara-based nonprofit healthcare provider, said in April that it’s looking to sell its surgery center at 2403 Castillo St. to assuage the FTC’s monopoly concerns regarding the proposed merger.
The merger has been in the works for more than two years but the FTC would not comment on the status of its investigation. The merger would combine Sansum, the largest physician practice on the South Coast, with the only inpatient hospital.
Sansum and Cottage have said that the merger would align with the Affordable Care Act’s call for partnerships and efficiencies. Others worry that the merger would increase the cost of care and delay service delivery.
The deal would unite Cottage’s three hospitals — in Santa Barbara, Goleta and Santa Ynez — and Sansum’s 23 ambulatory sites.
• Contact Alex Kacik at [email protected]