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Ziegler Client, Critical Access HealthCare LLC, Acquires Texas Hospital

CHICAGO, Oct. 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Ziegler announced today that their client, Critical Access HealthCare LLC (CAH), has acquired Golden Plains Community Hospital, a 25-bed critical access hospital in Borger, Texas. Ziegler Healthcare Consulting was instrumental in assisting CAH throughout the acquisition process.

Under the terms of the Sept. 30 agreement, CAH will acquire all of the assets of Golden Plains Community Hospital -- except for the existing hospital building -- from the district. CAH will operate the existing facility under a lease agreement with the county hospital district until a new hospital is built. Ground breaking is tentatively scheduled for spring of 2008, with construction estimated to take 12 to 18 months.

"This transaction combines the deep financial and industry knowledge of Ziegler, the nation's oldest healthcare investment bank, with the hospital operations expertise of Charlie Slaton, CAH's founder and chief executive officer, who has an impressive 20-year record of successfully operating hospitals," said Greg Johnson, Director of Ziegler Healthcare Consulting. "Ziegler is pleased to be able to help new companies like CAH and we are equally pleased that CAH will be bringing a brand-new hospital to the citizens of Hutchison County. We have confidence in CAH's ability to make this hospital a success."

Said Slaton, "With Ziegler's advice and support, CAH is proud to be able to bring our operations expertise to Golden Plains Community Hospital. CAH could not have completed this acquisition without Ziegler. They have been in the healthcare market for almost 80 years and their understanding of the financial side of the healthcare business is second to none."

Golden Plains Community Hospital has steadily lost market share over much of the last two decades, in large part because of the deterioration of its physical plant. The original hospital building was constructed in 1937, and the weighted average age of the hospital's plant is 49 years. Recognizing the community's need for a new hospital, the district board considered a number of funding options, including a $25 million bond issue. This proposal was resoundingly defeated in a September 2004 public referendum. The board decided to seek a buyer for the hospital who would agree to build a replacement facility.

"CAH, with Ziegler behind them, made the best offer with the most integrity, not just in terms of their willingness to commit in writing to building a new facility, but also in terms of their history and the reputation of their people," said Jason Vance, chairman of the Hutchison County Hospital District Board. "The other bidders didn't rise to that level of credibility with the board. I believe we've come up with the optimal solution. I have confidence that with CAH we'll finally have the medical services this community needs and deserves."

CAH's long-term plans for the new facility include recruiting physicians, adding services, maintaining the district's charity care guidelines and continuing the tradition of district representation on the governing board. CAH also will focus on improving operations and making the hospital profitable. "Our company can provide services that only the largest hospitals in Texas currently receive," said Slaton. "We have the expertise to ensure that we're being properly reimbursed."

About Ziegler

The Ziegler Companies, Inc. (Pink Sheets: ZGCO) is a growth-oriented boutique investment banking and investment services firm with a primary focus in the healthcare, senior living and church and school sectors. Operations encompass capital markets (capital advisory services, bond underwriting, mortgage banking, institutional sales and trading) and wealth management, including asset management and investment services.

Nationally, Ziegler Capital Markets is ranked as one of the leading investment banking firms for not-for-profit healthcare and senior living providers, as well as religious institutions and schools.

Ziegler Wealth Management (retail brokerage) encompasses investment and consulting services for individuals, families, businesses owners and institutions. It operates a network of financial advisors throughout Wisconsin and the nation.

Ziegler's alternative investing activities include raising and deploying capital through private investment funds with investment objectives related to the real estate, services and technology sectors of the healthcare and senior living industries.

Ziegler Capital Management, LLC sponsors the North Track family of mutual funds and provides separate account management for individuals, corporations, foundations and endowments. Total assets under management are approximately $3.5 billion.

About Critical Access HealthCare LLC

A Dallas, Texas based company, Critical Access HealthCare specializes in bringing unique solutions to Hospital Districts and governmental entities related to their rural community's healthcare needs. Bringing significant experience in hospital operations and proven reimbursement expertise, CAH develops solutions that can allow communities access to new hospital facilities and improvements. CAH was founded by Charlie Slaton, a well-known healthcare executive, and partners Jim Gjerset and Shauna Lorenz of Gjerset & Lorenz -- the premier Texas legal firm in healthcare reimbursement law.

Certain comments in this news release represent forward-looking statements made pursuant to the provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, in particular, the overall financial health of the securities industry, the strength of the healthcare sector of the U.S. economy and the municipal securities marketplace, the ability of the Company to underwrite and distribute securities, the market value of mutual fund portfolios and separate account portfolios advised by the Company, the volume of sales by its retail brokers, the outcome of pending litigation, and the ability to attract and retain qualified employees.

SOURCE Ziegler Companies, Inc.
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