Bonita Community Health Care CenterLee Health will buy out NCH Healthcare System’s 50% stake in the Bonita Community Health Center for $14.3 million, a deal that ends a long-tumultuous business partnership between the rival hospital systems in south Lee County.

The acquisition will not affect patient services or staffing at the 100,000 square-foot outpatient health center located just south of the Coconut Point Mall, Lee Health officials said. And NCH’s wound-care center will remain. The center adjoins Lee Health’s newly built 30-acre Lee Health – Coconut Point medical campus.

“We feel, strategically, this makes a lot of sense. There’s a lot of synergy with our current project there at Coconut Point,” said Dave Cato, chief administrative officer of outpatient services for Lee Health.

The publicly operated Lee Health will pay $5 million in cash to NCH and assume its $9.3 million shares of the debt the health center has incurred over the years.

The Bonita Community Health Center has been losing $2 million a year, a financial liability the two hospital systems have shared. Lee Health officials have not said how they plan to stop the fiscal bleeding. But Lee Health spokesperson Mary Briggs said, “We see a lot of potential in Bonita Community Health Center. By strategically coordinating its services with Coconut Point and other facilities we have in the area, we believe we can make it profitable.”

“In working with NCH, they’ve been nothing but absolutely collaborative in coming to a resolution,” said Lee Health’s president and CEO, Larry Antonucci. “And I firmly believe this will be the beginning of a very different relationship — a very collaborative relationship.”

Originally reported in a News-Press article published November 2, 2019.

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