Mercy and Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) have signed a definitive agreement and transferred ownership of Mercy Hot Springs hospital and physician clinic to St. Vincent Health System (SVHS) in Little Rock, a CHI affiliate.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Mercy’s Hot Springs hospital has 282 beds and includes an emergency department with a Level 2 trauma center. Its physician clinic is aligned with 90 physicians. St. Vincent has a 615-bed hospital in Little Rock and central Arkansas.

“The founding Sisters of Charity of Nazareth and Sisters of Mercy would be proud to see their 126-year ministries strengthened today through the formation of a larger, regional health care system serving southwest and central Arkansas,” said Peter Banko, St. Vincent president and CEO.

“Our agreement with CHI provides assurance that Catholic health care has a strong, sustainable future in Hot Springs,” said Lynn Britton, Mercy president and CEO. “The affiliation with SVHS provides the opportunity to strengthen health services locally as well as across the entire region, and enables our co-workers and physicians to continue to do what they love – provide exceptional care and service to their community in a faith-based environment.”

Thomas Fitz will serve as interim president of St. Vincent Hot Springs.

He has previously worked with CHI in Kansas and Morrilton. Fitz also served for nearly a decade as CEO for Catholic Health East’s St. Mary’s Hospital and Health Care System in Georgia.

According to a statement from the two hospitals, medical staff privileges of the physicians at Mercy Hot Springs are not expected to be affected by the transaction. Physicians and staff employed by Mercy Hot Springs as of April 1, will continue their employment with the hospital.

SVHS also intends to retain the core health care services and charity care currently provided by Mercy in the Hot Springs community, which will be overseen by a local board of community and physician leaders.

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