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Catholic, St. Vincent to Negotiate Acquisition of Mercy Health

Parties will negotiate terms of the agreement and, if agreement is reached, are planning to complete transaction by Dec. 31, 2013.
HOT SPRINGS, AR (News Release) -- On Friday, Oct. 11, Mercy Health and Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) signed a non-binding letter of intent (LOI) to transfer ownership of Mercy Hot Springs hospital and physician clinic to CHI and its affiliate, St. Vincent Health System (SVHS) in Little Rock.

The parties will negotiate the terms of the agreement and, if agreement is reached, are planning completion of the transaction by Dec. 31, 2013.

Mercy and CHI recognize the extremely challenging health care environment in Arkansas and agree that enhancing the Catholic health ministry and strengthening access to health care is a key objective of the proposed transaction.  Upon successful completion of the transaction, Mercy Hot Springs would be operated as part of an integrated network with SVHS in Little Rock, which is part of CHI.

Through the transaction, SVHS has committed to preserve existing physician relationships in the community and build new ones as they work to strengthen the ministry in Hot Springs. Medical staff privileges of the physicians at Mercy Hot Springs are not expected to be affected by the proposed transaction.  Furthermore, SVHS is committed to creating a strong and integrated regional physician network to sustain and grow the network throughout the state.

SVHS intends to offer employment to each individual currently employed by and in good standing with Mercy Hot Springs as of the closing, subject to CHI’s routine employment screening and verification process. SVHS also intends to retain the charity care and core health care services currently provided by Mercy in the Hot Springs community, which will be overseen by a local board of community and physician leaders following the transaction.

The transfer will require approvals from the Mercy Board of Directors, SVHS Board of Directors, the CHI Board of Stewardship Trustees as well as federal, state and Church authorities.

Mercy and CHI are pleased to know that Bishop Anthony Taylor of the Diocese of Little Rock considers their discussions to be welcome news, and that he is hopeful that the outcome will yield a positive result for the residents of Hot Springs and the surrounding communities.
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