Separately owned hospitals in Missouri capital 'not sustainable,' St. Mary's president says

St. Louis-based SSM Health is in talks to sell its Jefferson City, Mo.-based St. Mary's Hospital to a local competitor after deciding that having two separately owned hospitals in town is not sustainable, according to the News Tribune.

Philip Gustafson, interim president of St. Mary's, said his system is looking to sell the hospital to Columbia, Mo.-based MU Health Care, which owns Capital Region Medical Center in Jefferson City, because his facility is not able to fulfill its goals under the current conditions.

"SSM is trying to figure out, 'How do they provide a mission-based healthcare system for a region?' They came to a decision several months ago that the present model is not sustainable," said Mr. Gustafson. "[Our] purpose is to try to provide really good quality, accessibility to what's happening, as well as keeping the costs under control to the extent that [MU Health Care is] able to do that. We don't do that very well, as you can probably see from some of your bills."

While some people worry that MU Health Care's acquisition of St. Mary's could lead to a monopoly of local healthcare, Jonathan Curtright, CEO of MU Health Care, said the move will help lower costs.

"Over the long term, the region would be better served, and particularly Jefferson City would be better served, if we could figure out some way that those [facilities] could get consolidated, so that we have services that are big enough that they can support that and spread the cost and be affordable to people," said Mr. Curtright.

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