Vatican May Halt Mercy Health's Plan to Sell Arkansas Hospital
Disagreements with Vatican officials in Rome may halt St. Louis-based Mercy Health's plan to sell Mercy Hospital Hot Springs (Ark.) to Franklin, Tenn.-based Capella Healthcare, according to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch report.
Catholic-based Mercy and non-Catholic Capella signed an agreement in principle to merge Mercy Hospital Hot Springs with Capella's National Park Medical Center in Hot Springs. Soon after the agreement was signed, Bishop Anthony Taylor of the Diocese of Little Rock, Ark., expressed reservations in regard to the hospital's future care for the poor. He has also accused Mercy officials of violating canon law by not seeking a Catholic partner for the hospital and voiced concern that Capella may eventually permit abortions at the hospital, according to the report.
According to the report, Mercy Hospital Hot Springs CEO Tim Johnson told employees the Vatican has ordered Mercy executives to sit down with Bishop Anthony Taylor of Little Rock to try and resolve differences.
Under the proposed deal, Capella has agreed to provisions set by Mercy, such as refraining from abortion or sterilization procedures at the Hot Springs hospital for at least five years and committing to adopt Mercy's charity care policy guidelines.
The merger must still pass state and federal regulatory reviews.
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Mercy Health, Capella Healthcare to Merge Arkansas Hospitals Despite Objections
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