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BIRMINGHAM, AL-Medical Properties Trust Inc.’s management team spent the latter part of the third quarter focusing on turning around operations at medical centers formerly operated by Charlotte, NC-based Hospital Partners of America Inc., which filed bankruptcy in September. Executives have reported good news for three of the four assets to shareholders and analysts.

In late 2007, the locally based REIT bought Shasta Regional Medical Center in Redding, CA, Bucks County Hospital in Bensalem, PA, Monroe Hospital in Bloomington, IN and River Oaks Medical Center in Houston from HPA and kept it in place as the operator. To date, Medical Properties Trust has found operators for two properties, is still looking for a third and has the Texas campus up for sale.

In the Q3 earnings call, REIT chairman, president and CEO Edward K. Aldag Jr. said Prime Healthcare Management Inc. of Victorville, CA has signed a long-term, triple-net lease with a purchase option for the 246-bed Shasta Regional Medical Center at 1100 Butte St. Prime is marking its sixth day as the facility’s operator. Should Prime exercise its early purchase option, Aldag said “we could capture as much as $20 million above and over the rental agreement.”

The 24-bed DSI Bucks County Hospital at 3300 Tillman Dr. is being operated by Diversified Specialty Institutes Inc. of Nashville. “The facility continues to improve its operations,” Aldag said, adding there is no plan to sell the campus at this time.

Medical Properties Trust has yet to find an operator for the 32-bed Monroe Hospital at 2555 W. Fullerton Pike. The medical asset “attracted the attention of several potential operators,” Aldag said. “We’re in negotiation with interested parties.”

The 524-bed, two-campus River Oaks Medical Center in Houston was shut down in June. “Cushman & Wakefield have been retained to market those campuses,” Aldag reported. “We’re pursuing opportunities in terms of sale and rental.” He said the campuses at 4200 Twelve Oaks Dr. and at 6700 Bellaire Blvd. have attracted interest at a value above or near the REIT’s initial investment despite the economic slowdown and minor property damage from Hurricane Ike.

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