The ongoing negotiations for the merger of Patients First with the Mercy health system is a very complicated process, with many details to be worked out. The goal is to try to wrap things up by July 1, but it’s going to take time after that date, if met, to sort out all of the details, administration and operating procedures.
It’s probably the most complicated coming together of two enterprises in the history of this area. We don’t know of any other merger in this area that has entailed the multitude of details that would compare to this one. When the old St. Francis Hospital merged with St. John’s Mercy Hospital, it didn’t come close to the details that have to be worked out in this deal. It didn’t compare to what is going on in the current negotiations.
There are many legal matters to be worked out, particularly in contracts with doctors and others. How to handle the duplication of services has to be worked out. The merger of cancer services and treatments apparently is going well, with the center now located in renovated space in the Patients First building. Among the other legal matters are lease agreements, the transfer of financial obligations, pending litigation and a number of items. There is the issue of software integration also. That is being addressed.
The integration of Patients First workers into the Mercy system has been moving forward. This involves orientation sessions, in-house town hall meetings and meetings with individuals. This is a huge task.
The care of patients during the transition period has been given the highest priority.
A huge step toward the merger was taken when the membership of Patients First agreed to the sale of their assets. There has been a positive attitude on both sides during the negotiations. That bodes well for the community and patient care. By combining the strengths of both organizations, the result will be expanded coverage in this immediate area of health care, more efficient delivery of services and treatments and a new spirit of cooperation in the medical community. It’s an exciting time for members of both organizations, and while it will take time to sort out all the details, as long as the positive attitudes prevail, like Jack Buck used to say about the Cardinals, “That’s a winner!”