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Hospitals in Live Oak, Starke shutting down inpatient, non-emergency services

The hospitals will be converted into 24/7 emergency care. Both hospitals are being purchased by HCA Healthcare, a for-profit operator of medical facilities.
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Two hospitals on the First Coast are preparing to be sold and discontinuing inpatient and non-emergency services.

Shands Stark Regional Medical Center, 922 E Call St, Starke, and Shands Live Oak Regional Medical Center, 1100 11th St SW, Live Oak, are both being converted to emergency-only operations, according to a news release from Community Health Systems Inc., current operators of the hospitals.

Rhonda Sherrod, CEO of the hospitals, said the facilities will be better served as 24/7 emergency care.

"The primary medical need of these communities is for emergency services," Sherrod stated in a news release Friday announcing the change in services and pending sale of the hospitals.

All inpatient and non-emergency services will be suspended at the hospitals in late April, the news release states.

"Following the suspension of services, substantially all of the assets of each facility will be sold to hospitals affiliated with HCA Healthcare's North Florida Division," the news release states.

The new owners will preserve emergency services at the hospitals operating as off-campus emergency departments of Lake City Medical Center and North Florida Regional Medical Center, the news release states.

Nashville, Tennessee-based HCA Healthcare operates 184 hospitals and approximately 2,000 sites including surgery centers, freestanding ERs, urgent care centers and physician clinics in 21 states and the United Kingdom, according to their website.