RegionalCare Hospital Partners acquires Essent Healthcare, an owner and operator of community hospitals, for $260 million.

The deal continues an acquisitive trend that’s defined Nashville hospital companies for four decades.

The combined company, which maintains the RegionalCare Hospital Partners name, becomes the owner and operator of seven rural hospitals across six states, with revenues of $1.5 billion. RegionalCare CEO and founder Marty Rash remains at the helm of the combined company.