Capella Healthcare, parent of National Park Medical Center, and Mercy Health, which owns St. Joseph’s Mercy Health System, have signed an “agreement in principle” that could lead to a merger of two Hot Springs hospitals.
According to a press release from Capella, the agreement in principle “contemplates transferring ownership of St. Joseph’s Mercy to Capella and allows the two organizations to engage in exclusive negotiations toward a definitive agreement.”
“As separate providers in the Hot Springs area, Mercy and Capella face challenges in serving the community,” said Lynn Britton, Mercy president and CEO. “Mercy has deep roots in the region, and it is our intent to continue our ministry here through other ways of meeting community needs. But given the environment, we have come to believe that the region will be better served by a unification of health services under one provider.”
“This agreement reflects our shared core values to provide high quality, cost-effective, compassionate healthcare for the regions we serve,” said Dan Slipkovich, CEO for Capella Healthcare. “With great challenges related to healthcare reform and a continued uncertain economy, we have to be better and smarter about how we deliver healthcare going forward. We believe a more coordinated system will pave the way for improved quality and greater efficiencies in how we provide care.”
“Of course, there are a number of issues and opportunities that will need to be fully explored, and we will spend the next several weeks engaging physicians, employees and community leaders to help us shape what’s best for the region and to build on the work already underway,” said Slipkovich.
The two parties said no further information would be provided until “a definitive agreement is reached.”
“As we work towards finalizing our agreement, both organizations are committed to making the transition as smooth as possible for patients, employees, physicians and the community as a whole,” said Britton.