Tucson Medical Center says it will not move forward with a partnership to open a hospital in Green Valley.
But the decision apparently will not affect the planned 32-bed acute-care hospital, which would give the community south of Tucson its first hospital and emergency room.
A spokesman said developers from Scottsdale-based McDowell Enterprises are moving forward with the $52 million Green Valley Medical Center, regardless of TMC's involvement, with a tentative opening date in 2014.
TMC Healthcare had announced plans in September to build a hospital with McDowell Enterprises through a TMC subsidiary called Saguaro Medical Holdings. The hospital at the time said it had entered into a "memorandum of understanding" to explore the development and operation of a hospital in Green Valley.
"We are pleased to be able to continue the due diligence process and obtain input from key stakeholders," TMC HealthCare President and Chief Executive Officer Judy Rich said at the time. "Green Valley has long been identified as medically underserved, with emergency services being nearly 30 miles away. TMC is committed to serving the residents of Green Valley with the same patient-focused health care that we are known for throughout the region."
But TMC spokeswoman Julia Strange confirmed on Thursday that the hospital "did not come to terms" with McDowell on the project. She would not elaborate.
A Green Valley leader said he isn't overly concerned about TMC's decision.
"They never were a partner. McDowell has been and is in negotiations with other operators, and the hospital is fully funded," said Tom Ward, manager of Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll's Green Valley office. "It is important to have an operator, but I know McDowell is in discussions with several potential operators."
McDowell spokesman Frank Thomson said he wasn't sure about TMC's involvement on Thursday. But no matter what TMC does, the hospital project will move forward, he said.
The Pima County Board of Supervisors has already approved zoning variances for the 138,533-square-foot hospital on 22 acres east of Interstate 19 and north of Canoa Ranch Drive.
The hospital would serve about 50,000 people who live in Green Valley, home to many retirees, and the rapidly growing Sahuarita area.
"What people want is a hospital. They don't want an ambulance drive of 30 to 45 minutes to get to a hospital," Ward said.
The hospital plans include a rehabilitation center, medical offices, cardiac catheterization lab, four operating rooms, on-site radiological imaging labs, 26 inpatient private rooms, a six-bed intensive-care unit, a helipad and the potential to expand from 32 beds to 50.
Officials have said they will build with the ability to expand the hospital as the community grows.
Contact reporter Stephanie Innes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4134. On Twitter: @stephanieinnes