Rutherford Regional Health System and Duke LifePoint Finalize Joint Venture

Published By: LifePoint Hospitals • 06/03/2014 9:24 AM

Rutherfordton, N.C. – The Rutherford Regional Health System Board of Trustees and Duke LifePoint Healthcare have finalized the transaction to jointly own and operate Rutherford Regional Health System (RRHS). The newly formed joint venture will strengthen RRHS for the future and give the system new resources to enhance the health care services offered in Rutherford, Polk and Cleveland Counties.

“This is a great day for RRHS and our communities as we embark on the exciting next chapter in our system’s legacy of care,” said Matt Bright, chairman of the RRHS Board of Trustees. “Together with Duke LifePoint, we have great opportunities to strengthen the quality care for which we are known, invest in new services and technology, and transform health care in this region.” 

Under the terms of the joint venture, Duke LifePoint owns 80 percent and RRHS has a 20 percent ownership stake.  The joint venture will invest $60 million in new equipment and technology and facility maintenance and renovations at RRHS over the next decade. The retained assets and proceeds from the transaction allow RRHS to pay off its debt. The remaining proceeds, approximately $30 million, will be available to fund projects to meet community health and wellness needs.

“Rutherford Regional has played an important role in the lives of people in Rutherfordton and surrounding communities for more than a century,” said William J. Fulkerson, Jr., MD, executive vice president of Duke University Health System. “We look forward to working with Rutherford Regional’s leadership, physicians, employees and volunteers to further build upon the quality care provided and serve the community for years to come.”

Governance of the joint venture is shared by RRHS and Duke LifePoint through a board with equal representation from both organizations.  This board structure ensures that the Rutherford County community will have an active, long-term voice in RRHS’s future.

“Our team is delighted to finalize this joint venture and join Duke LifePoint,” said Cindy Buck, chief executive officer of RRHS. “As part of Duke LifePoint, we will have a wealth of resources and expertise to help us strengthen our system, better serve our communities and offer new opportunities to our employees.  We are excited to begin planning for our future and how we can further advance the health of people in this region.”

As part of Duke LifePoint, RRHS becomes a taxpaying organization, providing an important source of new tax revenue to support the local economy.

“Duke LifePoint is excited to expand our presence in North Carolina and welcome Rutherford Regional to our system,” said LifePoint Chairman and Chief Executive Officer William F. Carpenter III. “Duke LifePoint and Rutherford Regional share a mission of making this region healthier.  We are looking forward to beginning our journey to enhance care here and strengthening Rutherford Regional and its communities for the future.”

About Rutherford Regional Health System 
Rutherford Regional Health System (RRHS), based in Rutherfordton, NC, is a not-for-profit hospital system serving the people of Rutherford County and portions of Polk and Cleveland counties, North Carolina. With a team of more than 130 physicians, approximately 700 clinical and support staff, and 200 volunteers, RRHS offers a full range of services and the latest technology to meet the health care needs of the community. Thomson Reuters has recognized RRHS as a four-time Top 100 National Hospital, and Becker’s Hospital Review of Chicago has named RRHS as one of America’s top community hospitals each of the last four years. Additionally, in 2012, RRHS was recognized as a “Top Quality Performer in Key Quality Measures” by The Joint Commission, which accredits RRHS.

About Duke LifePoint Healthcare
Duke LifePoint Healthcare, a joint venture of Duke University Health System, Inc. and LifePoint Hospitals® (NASDAQ: LPNT), was established to build a dynamic network of hospitals and health care providers. The joint venture, which brings together LifePoint's experience in community-based hospital management and Duke's world-renowned leadership in clinical service, is strengthening and improving health care delivery by providing community hospitals the clinical, quality and operational resources they need to grow and prosper.