Promise Hospital to get new owners, change name

Published 11:43 pm Thursday, March 7, 2019


VIDALIA — Promise Hospital on the Vidalia Riverfront will soon be under new ownership and management.

Under the management of Mississippi-based SentryCare Inc., Sentry Concordia LLC expects to become the new majority owner of the long-term acute care hospital when it closes on the sale in April.

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After the sale, the name of the hospital will change to RiverBridge Specialty Hospital and will continue to provide acute care and rehabilitation services to the Miss-Lou.

Based in Brandon, SentryCare manages several rehabilitation, nursing home and assisted-living facilities, including Magnolia Village, an assisted-living center on Highland Boulevard In Natchez.

SentryCare was founded in 1993 by Chris Cheek, who is the company’s current president and director.

One of Promise Hospital’s founders, Dr. Randy Tillman of Natchez, will remain a minority owner and assist in the management of the hospital.

“Dr. Tillman and I have been friends for years. When the company went into bankruptcy, we started talking about buying (the Vidalia hospital),” Cheek said.

Based in Boca Raton, Fla., Promise Healthcare Group LLC, the owner of the hospital in Vidalia, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November. The company owned several Louisiana acute-care hospitals in Baton Rouge, Bossier City, Shreveport and Vidalia. The company also operates facilities in eight other states.

In recent months Promise Healthcare has sold several hospital facilities in Florida, Kansas and California.

As the owner of Magnolia Village, Cheek said he is very familiar with Natchez.

“Natchez has been near and dear to me for a long time,” Cheek said.

Cheek said because of the bankruptcy he and Tillman didn’t want the Vidalia hospital to go to someone who may not be looking out for the best interests of the local community.

“For us it is all about the people,” Cheek said. “We are in the process of providing care to the local community. That is what a hospital is.”

Cheek said RiverBridge Specialty Hospital would be the first long-term acute hospital for Sentry Care, but that the company has extensive experience in the services the facility provides.

“Since 1990 we have been in healthcare, doing work in nursing homes and rehabilitation,” Cheek said. “A lot of what the hospital already provides is pretty much in our wheelhouse.”

Cheek said he is confident in the team that will be managing the RiverBridge, including CEO Mike Harrell.

“I have been impressed with the staff. They are a stellar group. We are certainly honored to be part of the team.”