St. Vincent Completes Purchase of Mercy Hot Springs Hospital

Catholic Health Initiatives of Englewood, Colo., and its affiliate, St. Vincent Health System in Little Rock, announced Tuesday that they completed their purchase of Mercy Hot Springs' hospital and physician clinic. 

The terms of the purchase weren't disclosed.

During a conference call with reporters Tuesday, St. Vincent President and CEO Peter Banko said  the 2,000 Mercy Health employees in Hot Springs will continue working for St. Vincent. The 282-bed Hot Springs hospital has been renamed St. Vincent Hot Springs.

Banko said his plans for Hot Springs include trying to "strengthen health care services locally." He said some of the specialties St. Vincent will focus on include orthopedics, cancer, cardio vascular, neurosurgery and behavior health.

And he said St. Vincent will work to add physician groups to the hospital system. Mercy Hot Springs included a 90-physician clinic group.

"Our St. Vincent philosophy is to embrace all physicians, not just employed," Banko said. "So we're going to be far more active in recruiting, chatting to, attracting independent physicians in the community in the specialties we talked about."

Also Tuesday, Thomas Fitz was named interim president of St. Vincent Hot Springs. He had worked with CHI in Kansas and Morrilton.

Mercy representatives said they were pleased with the sale.

"Our agreement with CHI provides assurance that Catholic health care has a strong, sustainable future in Hot Springs," Lynn Britton, Mercy's president and CEO, said in a joint news release.

Banko said St. Vincent had always been interested in Hot Springs. The two health systems began talks about a deal in the summer of 2013 after Mercy Health's plans to sell its Hot Springs operation to Capella Healthcare of Franklin, Tenn., collapsed. The Federal Trade Commission said it didn't support the sale.

Capella operates National Park Medical Center across town.

In October, Catholic Health Initiatives signed a non-binding letter of intent to sell Mercy Hot Springs hospital and physician clinic to CHI.

For the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2012, the latest figures available to Arkansas Business, Mercy Hot Springs had net patient revenue of $186.9 million and a net income of $2.9 million.