The same day a new Board of Directors was seated for Health Management Associates, the hospital company announced it would move 75 jobs from a service center in Knoxville, Tenn., to the service center under construction in Fort Smith.

A new board is the result of a successful effort by New York City-based Glenview Capital Management to seek shareholder approval of a plan to “Revitalize HMA” by changing board and executive leadership.

Naples, Fla.-based HMA is the parent company of Sparks Health System in Fort Smith and Summit Medical Center in Van Buren.

On June 25, Glenview formally requested that HMA shareholders vote for a complete overhaul of the HMA board of directors. Officials with Glenview said financial and structural problems at HMA are so deep that they believe a new Board was required to provide the experience to make changes.

It was announced Aug. 12 that the board nominees submitted by Glenview, which owns 14.6% of HMA shares, had received more than 50% of shareholder support.

The new members of the Company’s Board of Directors are Steven Epstein, Mary Taylor Behrens, Kirk Gorman, Stephen Guillard, Joann Reed, John McCarty, Steven Shulman and Peter Urbanowicz.

The hospital industry is waiting to see if the board will reject, adjust or move forward with the Community Health Systems plan to acquire HMA in a deal valued at $7.6 billion that could close in the first quarter of 2014.

A new board and the Community Health Systems deal delivers a level of uncertainty to the planned regional service center now under construction in Fort Smith. HMA officials announced in April that the center would be housed in what was once a portion of Phoenix Village Mall. HMA said at least 500 will be employed at the center, and estimated the annual payroll at $21.5 million, with the center at full employment within 12 months. The facility is scheduled to begin operations in early September.

However, Lance Beaty said construction on the HMA service center continues and he sees no hint that the service center will not open. Beaty, general manager of FSM Redevelopment Partners and owner of the property HMA is leasing for the Fort Smith service center, said crews are working an expedited schedule to open the center as soon as possible.

On Friday (Aug. 16) officials with Tennova Healthcare, based in Knoxville, Tenn., and a system owned by HMA, said 75 jobs in the Knoxville service center will be moved to the Fort Smith operation.

“In a further response to this challenging economic environment and the pending implications of the Affordable Care Act, we will be consolidating some of the activities at our Knoxville regional service center into our center in Arkansas. That will result in 75 positions being moved from the Knoxville center to Arkansas,” noted an HMA statement.

The jobs will be moved by October, according to a report by Channel 6 ABC affiliate WATC in Knoxville.

HMA said the Knoxville employees will be offered opportunities to move to service center jobs in Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina and Mississippi, or apply for positions in Tennova hospitals.

The HMA statement said the job consolidations and service centers are part of efforts to improve overall hospital operations.

“With major changes underway in healthcare and the strong economic pressures that have resulted, Health Management Associates must now, more than ever, work to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our hospitals’ operations. One way we have done so has been to create regional service centers that consolidate hospital business office operations.”

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