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NAPLES, FL-Health Management Associates Inc. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire East Pointe Hospital in eastern Lee County, FL, for an undisclosed sum. This is the first acquisition of fiscal year 2002 for the Naples-based hospital company.

When the deal closes next month, the hospital in Lehigh Acres will become one of 13 the company owns and operates in Florida. It will be the 39th facility the company operates in 15 states, mostly in the Southeast and Southwest.

Formerly known as Columbia East Pointe, the hospital was one of 46 hospitals that Columbia HCA Healthcare Corp. owned and operated in Florida, according to an annual shareholder’s report the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Following reorganization, the company emerged as Nashville, TN-based HCA-The Healthcare Co.

As part of that reorganization, HCA agreed to divest some of its holdings in response to a federal administrative settlement agreement, according to a published shareholder’s report. The company agreed to the settlement following negotiations with the federal Office of the Inspector General over alleged irregular billing practices.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration classifies the hospital as a general for-profit hospital, with 88 licensed beds and 75 acute-care beds.

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