Potential sale of Catholic hospitals unrelated to health reform

In an unprecedented announcement, Mercy Health Partners in Scranton, Pa., and the Catholic Healthcare Association issued statements that the four-hospital Mercy system was not seeking a sale of its hospitals due to healthcare reform.

"The rationale for our initiative has been mischaracterized by certain politicized media outlets and severely distorted by some special interest groups," said Mercy Health Partners CEO Kevin Cook in a statement. "Discussions about mergers, acquisitions and strategic partnerships have been conducted in our healthcare community for years--long before the passage of the Affordable Care Act," he said.

Mercy Health issued the statement shortly after it announced it was seeking a buyer for Mercy Hospital in Scranton, three other inpatient facilities and several other clinics. The Catholic Hospital Association issued a similar statement.

Cook issued the statement partly in response to an article in the American Spectator that suggested the Affordable Care Act not only precipitated the pending sale of the hospitals, but that the facilities could go to a private operator that might permit abortions and related procedures banned by Catholic doctrine. It also suggested the CHA intimidated Cook into talking back statements he had made to a local televsion news outlet.

For more:
- here's the CHA statement here
- read the Mercy Healthcare Partners statement here
- read the American Spectator article