The Cambridgeshire hospital's debts of £40m have been underwritten
Three private firms have been shortlisted to run a failing hospital in Cambridgeshire.
Circle Health, Ramsay Health Care UK and Serco Health have been selected from five who had applied to operate Hinchingbrooke Hospital.
The firms will now have individual meetings with groups such as NHS East of England and hospital staff.
Hospital chief executive Mark Millar said bidders had to show proof of their suitability to run the hospital.
Dr Stephen Dunn, director of strategy at NHS East of England, said: "Potential partners have been sharing with us some really pioneering ideas about how they would make Hinchingbrooke sustainable, and secure its longer term future.
"An expert team has been evaluating how robust these ideas are, whether the bidders have sufficient vision, experience and a solid financial platform."
Mr Millar said: "We know that patients will continue to receive NHS services, and we know that staff and assets will remain protected within the NHS."