Nashville, Tenn., November 17, 2005 - HCA (NYSE: HCA) today announced the company is donating more than 1,000 used hospital beds valued at approximately $100,000 to hospitals in third world countries primarily in Africa and Central America.
"The generous donation of 1,000 HCA hospital beds is incredibly valuable in an international setting, because the need is so great," said AB Short, CEO and founder of MedShare International based in Decatur, Ga. near Atlanta. "The beds are being shipped to hospitals in areas of the world hardest hit by HIV/AIDS further complicated by extreme poverty. The bed donation made by HCA is a great gesture with tremendous impact."
HCA, which has about 190 hospitals, is working with MedShare, a non-profit organization that distributes medical supplies and equipment to economically developing countries, to ship the beds to hospitals-in-need identified by MedShare. Bed manufacturer Hill-Rom and medical supply distributor Cardinal Health are donating the resources to pack and transport the beds from HCA hospitals to MedShare's warehouse in Atlanta. The beds are coming from HCA hospitals in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. HCA is donating about $200,000 to cover the cost of shipping the beds from Atlanta to the receiving hospitals.
"We are delighted to be able to put these beds that would otherwise be discarded to productive use," said Jack O. Bovender, Jr., Chairman and CEO of HCA. "By collaborating with MedShare, Hill-Rom and Cardinal, we are helping to fill a great humanitarian need."
So far 340 beds have been sent to hospitals in Sierra Leone (100), Kenya (100), Ethiopia (40), and El Salvador (100). The beds are expected to begin arriving at their destination in November. Hospitals in these countries provide care to millions of poor who suffer from inadequate housing and healthcare services. These healthcare facilities are located in overpopulated, impoverished urban areas and often lack the most basic supplies. They are in areas with high instances of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and hypertension and that have high infant mortality rates.
"With the seriously dilapidated health system in Ethiopia, not every hospital patient can dream of resting and recovering in the luxury of a bed, so each of the beds received will be welcomed," said Sebri Omer, a native of Ethiopia who helped establish Yemage Center Hospital. "We are very grateful for the 40 beds from HCA bound for Yemage Center Hospital in Harar, Ethiopia."
Connaught Hospital in the capital city of Freetown, Sierra Leone will receive about 100 beds from HCA. The facility had been rendered inactive during recent warfare but has now returned to operations. "We anxiously await the delivery of the much needed hospital beds to support hospital reactivation," said His Excellency Berewa Solomon, Vice President of Sierra Leone. "In addition to equipment, over 80 HCA beds were shipped to accommodate the patients who are often two to one bed."
Additional bed shipments will be made to the Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Nepal, Uganda, Zambia, the Dominican Republic and other countries in the Caribbean. The shipments are expected to be completed by December 31, 2005.All references to "HCA" and the "company" contained in this press release refer to HCA and its affiliates. The term "HCA hospitals" refers to entities owned or operated by subsidiaries or affiliates of HCA.