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Pratt Medical Center owners exploring sale

The region’s largest and oldest medical practice could soon change ownership.

Employees at Pratt Medical Center learned last Wednesday evening that clinic owners were considering selling the operation to one of three potential buyers.

Pratt workers were required to attend the meeting at the Fredericksburg Expo Center and were asked to keep mum on the details.

Dr. Scott Walker, president of Pratt, confirmed that the clinic is seeking “a relationship with another health care system.”

Pratt Medical Center employs about 184 people in eight locations throughout the Fredericksburg region.

The clinic opened in 1937, when a group of five Fredericksburg doctors combined their separate practices. Doctors have owned Pratt for most of the intervening 77 years.

In 1998, Pratt partnered with the Nashville, Tenn.-based health care company Symbion, but 25 Pratt doctors bought the practice back in 2002.

In the early 2000s, Pratt became a revolving door of doctors; nearly 25 left in 2002 and 2003. The practice became embroiled in lawsuits as some departing doctors sought to disentangle from Pratt’s non-compete clause, which prohibited former doctors from opening a new practice within 25 miles of Pratt for one year.

In 2003, Pratt hired a new chief executive officer, Robert Alexander, and the practice seemed to stabilize. Alexander left Pratt last fall, and the clinic has not announced a new CEO.

Pratt is still growing—a new location in Garrisonville opened last week and the clinic has hired new employees this year.

Pratt’s president said that the clinic wants to partner with another health care agency to continue this growth and to benefit both employees and patients.

“Currently, Pratt is exploring the option of a relationship with another health care system that would be advantageous for both parties,” Walker said in an email. “Although Pratt’s exploration of options is still in the initial stages, we are excited about the possibilities such a relationship may have to improve the health and well-being of our community.”

Amy Umble: 540/735-1973