Calk says hospitals can assuage this fear by cautiously selecting the buyer and designing a contract that lets them retain some power over the building.
"Obviously, prior to selling its medical office buildings, a hospital has to get comfortable with the fact that it is entrusting the care of its physician tenants to the new owner of the MOBs," he says. "The hospital system interviews and vets its chosen buyer very carefully and picks a buyer that it feels will be the best real estate partner—not just the buyer offering the best and highest price."
"Hospital systems [also] attempt to impose a variety of restrictions on the new owner that the hospital believes will cultivate or maintain a tenant-friendly environment… such as a cap on the rate at which rent can escalate in the building or a requirement that the building owner only use a specific approved lease form that is tenant-friendly and approved by hospital," Calk adds, noting that restrictions that benefit referring physician tenants should be imposed only when they are in compliance with government regulations.
Despite these concerns, Calk believes hospitals should take a hard look at their real estate holdings to identify buildings for potential sale.
"At the hospitals that are being very well run, folks are really using their capital wisely, including their real estate," he says.