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PRATT, SENTARA NEAR DEAL

The region’s largest medical practice could soon join forces with one of the state’s largest health care systems.

Pratt Medical Center’s leaders recently “moved one step further” in the process of finding a buyer and have narrowed the selection to just Sentara Healthcare, Dr. Scott Walker said Monday.

The negotiations are still underway and the details are not yet firm, said Walker, who is Pratt’s president. He expects a decision on joining the Norfolk-based Sentara within three to four weeks.

“Sentara has a strong reputation for excellent care for its employees. There will be no layoffs,” Walker said in an email. “We have great employees and they will continue to be highly valued. One of the reasons for this move is to provide a long future for our employees and sustain high-quality benefits.”

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 May, Pratt leaders announced that they would seek a buyer for the practice. Walker said that the clinic wants to partner with another health care agency to benefit both employees and patients.

Sentara Healthcare, a not-for-profit system, operates 12 hospitals and five medical groups throughout Virginia, employing more than 3,800 medical providers. In addition to hospitals in Hampton Roads, Sentara has hospitals in Woodbridge, Charlottesville and Harrisonburg.

Sentara also operates Optima Health, health plan coverage for more than 400,000 people in Virginia.

More details about the partnership should be available in the next day or so, Walker said.

Amy Flowers Umble: 540/735-1973 aumble@freelancestar.com

 

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