by Max Brantley
The National Park Medical Center and St. Joseph's hospital in Hot Springs will merge under one owner, according to this news release, though details of the combine are in short supply.
Capella Healthcare, parent of National Park, is going to become owner of St. Joseph's Mercy Health Center, which had been operated by Mercy Health, an organization of Catholic hospitals.
The operators have signed an agreement in principle and will negotiate a "definitive agreement." Merging of operations is suggested by the prepared statement from Lynn Britton, CEO of Mercy:
As separate providers in the Hot Springs area, Mercy and Capella face challenges in serving the community. 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.
St. Joseph's is the larger of the two hospitals.