Cerberus-Caritas deal includes Catholic escape hatch

If complying with the church's teachings should compromise the hospitals' financial viability, Caritas Christi suitor Cerberus Capital Management will be able shed the six Boston hospitals' religious identify in exchange for a $25 million donation to charity, reports the Boston Globe.

Although the agreement between the private equity firm and the hospital chain emphasizes a desire to keep the hospitals Catholic, it also states that the holding company established by Cerberus could terminate the agreement if it decides complying with Catholic ethical guidelines for hospitals is "materially burdensome." Likewise, the archdiocese could end the agreement if it concluded that the hospitals were not following Catholic teachings (which a recent study revealed that 4 percent of conflicted physicians would consider defying).

Timothy F. Price, managing director of Cerberus, said in an interview that "maintaining this identity is in the best interest of all stakeholders, including patients, employees and the communities in which the healthcare facilities operate.'' Caritas spokesman Christopher Murphy added that any break with the church would not be undertaken lightly.

To learn more:
- read the Boston Globe article
- check out this Boston Herald piece