Unity Health to Buy Former Jacksonville Hospital

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Unity Health of Searcy said Thursday it plans to buy the former North Metro Medical Center building in Jacksonville, and expects to start seeing patients in the summer.

“At that time, the initial plan is for the Unity Health-Jacksonville location to provide an emergency department, radiology/imaging services, behavioral health services and observation rooms, with the intent to add more services throughout the first three years,” Steven Webb, Unity Health’s president and CEO said in the news release. 

Unity Health entered into an asset purchase agreement with the hospital management company Allegiance Health Management Inc. of Shreveport, but the terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. 

The purchase is expected to be final in December.

In 2019, Allegiance closed North Metro Medical Center, leaving Jackonville without a hospital. Allegiance converted the building to a psychiatric facility called Freedom Behavioral Hospital of Central Arkansas. 

An official from Freedom Behavioral wasn’t immediately available for comment Friday morning. 

Before North Metro had closed, it struggled financially for years. 

North Metro had a net patient revenue of $18.25 million and a net loss of $9.24 million for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2018. For the fiscal year that ended in 2017, North Metro had a net loss of $5.3 million.

“The purchase of the Jacksonville location will allow Unity Health to care for Jacksonville and the surrounding communities,” Dr. Roddy Lochala, Unity Health’s chief medical officer, said in the news release. “We are excited about the possibility of enhancing the Jacksonville facility and offering high-quality services.”