RUSSELLVILLE — Curae Health announced Thursday it had reached an agreement with LifePoint Hospitals to purchased three north Alabama properties in Russellville, Haleyville and Winfield.

Curae Health, a not-for-profit health system, announced it had signed a strategic affiliation agreement with Huntsville Hospital Health System.

“Curae Health was founded to strengthen rural hospitals and improve the health care available in rural communities,” said Curae Health CEO Steve Clapp in a press release. “I am excited to build our system with these three great Alabama hospitals. Together with Huntsville Hospital Health System, we have great opportunities to improve care across northwest Alabama.”

According to a release by Curae Health officials, Russellville Hospital, Lakeland Hospital in Haleyville and Northwest Medical Center in Winfield, will become a part of the Curae Health System on Dec. 31, when the purchases are final.

“We’re optimistic and hopeful the sale (of Russellville Hospital) will continue to provide good health care for our residents,” Russellville Mayor David Grissom said.

Under the terms of the definitive agreement, Curae Health will maintain all services provided at the three hospitals, and all employees of the hospitals will be retained.  

“Russellville Hospital, Northwest Medical Center and Lakeland Community Hospital have been closely affiliated for many years,” Christine Stewart, CEO of Russellville Hospital and Northwest Medical Center, said in a statement. “By joining Curae Health, we are honored to continue our work of providing excellent health care services for our communities with a superior team of strong employees, physicians and communities.”

Russellville is a 100-bed acute-care facility.

Stewart said Curae Health presents a unique opportunity for Alabama rural hospitals.

“As part of Curae Health, we will be able to work more closely together as part of a collaborative regional health care delivery system to address the needs of our patients and communities,” Stewart said.

“In the changing health care environment, regional collaboration has never been more important.”

Clapp said the strategic affiliation with Huntsville Hospital will mean greater opportunities to improve care across northwest Alabama.

“Our affiliation with Curae fits with what we’re doing across the Tennessee Valley,” said Huntsville Hospital Health System CEO David Spillers in a statement. “By supporting not-for-profit health care, we help insure that local communities can determine what is best for them, while having the advantage of a larger partner nearby.”

Spillers said Huntsville Hospital Health System will have no financial responsibility or investment in Curae.

“With this (strategic affiliation) agreement (with Huntsville Hospital), the hospital will have the opportunity to participate in group purchasing of supplies as well as take advantage of the system’s continuing education programs and other clinical and operational services,” Stewart said.

Huntsville Hospital Health System is the second largest hospital in Alabama. Huntsville Hospital Health System, includes a Women & Children’s Hospital in Huntsville, along with hospitals in Madison, Athens, Decatur, Moulton, Red Bay and Sheffield. Huntsville Hospital Health System is the fifth largest publicly owned hospital system in the nation with more than 1,800 beds and 12,000 employees.

Tom Smith can be reached at Follow on Twitter @TD_TomSmith.

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