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February 26, 2007

Norman Regional buys Moore Medical Center, pays $34 M

Transcript Staff Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY -- With just two days to go before its operating capital was exhausted, the Moore Medical Center was sold Monday for $34,250,000 in cash -- to the Norman Regional Health System.

Originally considered the "second place" bidder for the facility, officials with Norman Regional made a last-minute offer early today which trumped a previous bid of $32 million by Oklahoma City-based Integris Health.

That bid, made by Integris on Feb. 12, has been considered the winning offer for the 45-bed acute-care facility. Several other proposals, including a $55 million bid from Acadiana Healthcare and a $49 million proposal from Moore Medical Holdings LLC-Oklahoma Healthcare LLC, failed.

Monday's action drew praise from Oklahoma City federal bankruptcy judge T.M. Weaver.

"The court is pleased," Weaver told the more than 20 attorneys in attendance. "We're pleased this has ended in a way to allow the hospital to continue to operate."

Weaver then approved the sale, ending a three-month saga to find a buyer for hospital.

With its cash almost gone and more than 350 jobs on the line, the sale keeps Moore's lone acute-care facility open.

"We're excited," said NRH chief David Whitaker following the hearing. "We'll close on Feb. 28."

Whitaker said he and Schuster Group CEO Michael Schuster would meet with hospital employees and volunteers this week. "Mr. Schuster and I have agreed to meet with the staff, doctors and volunteers of the hospital on Tuesday," he added. "I know there will be many questions."

After the sale is completed, Whitaker said the employees of the hospital would become employees of Norman Regional. "Once we close and take possession, those employees will be part of our system."

In addition to his meeting with the staff, Whitaker said Norman Regional is developing a transition team to streamline the change of ownership and will add the Moore hospital to its existing state hospital license to ensure continued operation.

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