Ex-CEO on potential merger to save bankrupt hospital: 'Perhaps this time they will succeed'

The former CEO of a hospital that is considering a merger with financially struggling Springfield (Vt.) Hospital said while efforts to combine in the past have flopped, things could be different this time.

In June, Springfield Hospital entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to restructure its nearly $20 million in debt. In August, the interim CEO of Springfield Hospital said it will be "virtually impossible" for the hospital to survive without merging with other hospitals in the area, according to VTDigger.

In an op-ed for the VTDigger, Richard Slusky, who served as CEO of Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center in Windsor, Vt., from 1982 to 2010, said plans to merge Springfield Hospital with a nearby competitor stretch back to the 1960s. When he was CEO, Mr. Slusky said Springfield and MAHHC floated the possibility of merging, but that fell through. Mr. Slusky recalled merging the hospitals was again on the table in the late 1990s or early 2000s, but failed to come to fruition. 

"So, with Springfield Hospital in bankruptcy and in jeopardy of closing, here we are 50 years later, seeking once again to redefine the relationships among these regional hospitals," Mr. Slusky wrote in the op-ed. "I suppose it's worth trying again, but I fear that the cultural and competitive dynamics between the communities, the financial considerations, location of services, and control issues will make it just as hard today as it has been over these many years to make this work."

However, he added: "Perhaps this time they will succeed."

Read the full op-ed here.

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