BY ANDREA HOLECEK, Times of Northwest Indiana
holecek@nwitimes.com

MUNSTER | The controlling interest in recently renamed Heartland Memorial Hospital has been sold to the private institution's holding company, which plans to resell it to area doctors.

The former Illiana Medical Institute was sold to Wright Capital Partners for $83 million in March. Its board of directors renamed the institution Heartland Memorial in July, said its chief executive officer, Dr. Jeffrey Yessenow.

Wright Capital Partners, a Chicago-based private equity group, resold the hospital at 701 Superior Ave. for an undisclosed sum on Thursday.

"It was always our intent and strategy to make Heartland a physician-owned and professionally managed business," said Leroy Wright, chairman of Wright Capital. "The shares we sold, which constitute a controlling interest in the business, will be resold to physicians in the Northwest Indiana community."

Yessenow, 54, said redeeming the shares has always been the board's objective.

"I'm absolutely pleased," he said Monday. "It needs to be a physician-owned-and-operated hospital. That's been the business model from Day One."

Hospital shares are being offered to the area's medical community through a "private placement memorandum," he said.

Dr. Hilton Hudson has been appointed chairman of the hospital's board of directors. By being physician owned and operated, the hospital "will have the greatest opportunity for patient care and economic success," Hudson said.

Hudson and Yessenow, acting as the institution's management team, currently are seeking professional management and joint ventures for the medical facility.

"We're interviewing as we speak," Yessenow said. "We should have a new management team in two to four weeks."

Illiana opened as an outpatient surgery center in 1994. It received its hospital license in 2000, putting it into direct competition with area nonprofit hospitals.

In October, Illiana Surgery Center sold off its Broadwest Surgery Center in Merrillville for $6 million. It also sold off a surgery center in Justice, Ill. Both of those were sold in order to allow Wright Capital Partners to concentrate its efforts at the Illiana Surgery Center and its remaining affiliated clinics, Wright said at the time of his firm's purchase of the center.

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