by Robert Burke
In 2006, Fairfax-based Inova Health Systems planned to acquire the 170-bed Prince William Hospital in Manassas and spend $200 million to expand its services.
The announcement was greeted as good news for the fast-growing western end of Prince William County. Supporters of the deal said the region needed more
health-care services, and the small nonprofit hospital couldn’t provide them alone.
But last May the Federal Trade Commission came out against the deal, which it said would give Inova 73 percent of the licensed hospital beds in Northern
Virginia, hurting competition and leading to higher costs.
A few weeks later the two sides dropped the merger plan, even though they rejected the merits of the FTC’s argument. And now Prince William Hospital is
shopping for a new partner. It hired a consulting firm to help it with a nationwide search for potential buyers, and its board of directors will hear
recommendations in January. “There’s a need,” says Donna Ballou, spokeswoman for the Prince William Health System. “We’ve looked at whether to remain
independent or to look for a partner. That’s what we are evaluating.”
Ballou says the hospital has gone ahead with some of the expansion needs it had hoped would be funded by Inova. The biggest is the opening in June of a
78,000-square-foot Haymarket Health Center, near the intersection of Interstate 66 and U.S. 15. Among the facility’s services are an around-the-clock
emergency room, lab and diagnostic imaging services, physician offices and some surgery services.
Some other expansion plans that were expected as part of the merger, such as adding private rooms and other facilities to the 44-year-old hospital, depend
on whether efforts to find a partner are successful. “We’re in a very competitive marketplace and the community is growing, so we have to grow with it,”
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