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HMA Sale Gets Green Light

The Federal Trade Commission announced Wednesdaythat it will approve the sale of the troubled Naples-based hospital chain Health Management Associates if the buyer divests some of its holdings.

Community Health Systems, which already operates 135 hospitals in 29 states, will let go of two hospitals in Alabama and South Carolina and will stop doing outpatient business that overlaps with existing HMA operations, according to a press releasefrom the company.

The $3.9 billion sale of HMA could be completed by January 2014.

This purchase will dramatically increase the number of CHS hospitals in Florida, from two to 25. But it also comes as the chain is under significant scrutiny. The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating HMA and its former chief executive on charges of Medicare billing fraud and paying kickbacks to doctors.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.