In Hot Springs, Capella Healthcare, Mercy Sign Merger Agreement

by Lance Turner  on Wednesday, Sep. 26, 2012 12:20 pm  

Mercy Health System in Hot Springs.

Capella Healthcare of Franklin, Tenn., which owns National Park Medical Center in Hot Springs, and Mercy Health, which owns Mercy Hospital and Mercy Clinic in Hot Springs, said Wednesday that the two have signed an asset purchase agreement for the two Hot Springs organizations to merge under Capella's ownership.  

The deal was initially announced in April. It still requires regulatory approvals. Mercy's relationship to the Catholic Church also requires approval from the Vatican, a process the parties say "is underway." 

The final phase of the deal is expected to take 60 to 90 days. Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed.

"This is an important step for our organizations in an effort to build an integrated health system that will advance healthcare for this region for years to come," Michael Wiechart, Capella's senior vice president and chief operating officer, said in a news release.

The merger is not without its critics.

In April after the deal was announced, Eric Jackson, a member of Mercy's national board of directors, resigned in protest.

"I have a strong conviction" that a faith-based, not-for-profit hospital is the best hospital for Hot Springs, Jackson, who is also the general manager of Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, told ArkansasBusiness.com.

Jackson was on the national board of directors of the Sisters of Mercy Healthcare System, as well as its finance, audit and compensation committees.

Proponents of the deal say the Mercy system in Hot Springs would have faced layoffs or cuts in services had it continued as part of in the Mercy Health System, which is based in Chesterfield, Mo.

 

 

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