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Publication: The Courier-Journal; Date: 03/27/2004

HCA unit will leave downtown subsidiary moves call center

by Patrick Howington

A call center employing nearly 500 people is moving from downtown Louisville to eastern Jefferson County, where it will add about 100 employees.

National Patient Account Services, a subsidiary of the HCA hospital chain, will move from the former Galleria complex to a building on Blankenbaker Parkway.

NPAS officials said the decision to leave downtown after more than 10 years wasn't easy and that staying in the Fourth Street Live! project that's being developed in the former Galleria was strongly considered.

But the Blankenbaker site offered more space that already was designed as a call center, making it a great fit for the company's needs, said chief operating officer Joe Shutts.

National Patient Account Services resolves patient-account balances for more than 190 hospitals nationwide, most of them owned by HCA. It has been operating in Louisville for 24 years.

NPAS will lease about 53,000 square feet at the new location. The company occupies the fifth floor and part of the sixth floor of the Kaufman-Strauss Building on the east side of the former Galleria.

The Louisville company also has about 250 employees in Dallas, and briefly considered moving there before deciding to stay in Louisville, Shutts said.

He said the move is "bittersweet" because of the company's commitment to downtown.

But the Blankenbaker location has some advantages, including room for employee activities, said Curtis Warfield, CEO.

The company received approval from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority for tax breaks in October.

NPAS will receive up to $715,147 in incentives over 10 years. At the time, NPAS said the expansion would include eight management jobs and generate about $2.9 million in payroll.

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