Mercy joins Centura Health system

Hospital says patient care will improve

Mercy Regional Medical Center has become a member of a network that brings all Catholic Health Initiatives hospitals inColorado into a single system to improve patient care and provide other advantages, a spokesman said Friday.

“Everyone saw opportunities," David Bruzzese said. “It was best for our patients."

The transition makes Mercy the 13th Catholic Health Initiatives, or CHI, hospital in Colorado to become part of CenturaHealth, which is sponsored by CHI and Adventist Health System. The merger comes after approval by the boards of Mercy,CHI and Centura.

Bruzzese said that by being folded into Centura, Mercy can avail itself of treatments not provided locally such ascardiac bypass surgery and certain endocrinology services. Mercy also will be able to share patient information andcoordinate care if a patient is transported to another network hospital, Bruzz-ese said.

Mercy president and CEO Kirk Dignum said in a statement: “We are pleased to become more closely aligned with the otherCatholic Health Initiatives facilities in Colorado. “Mercy's integration into Centura Health means that area residentswho need specialty care or technology not available locally will have seamless access to a broad network of facilitiesand specialists."

In certain cases, specialists from other Centura partners possibly could work periodically at Mercy in fields thatdon't warrant a full-time specialist in Durango, Bruzzese said.

Opportunities for continuing medical education, smoothing out seasonal staffing shortages and joint purchasing foreconomy of scale are other possible advantages of the partner-ship, Bruzzese said.

“We'll have the same local autonomy and our patients will receive the same quality of care here and if they have totravel to another facility," Bruzzese said.

Centura is based in Englewood and is the state's largest health-care system. It now operates 13 hospitals, seven seniorliving communities, medical clinics, Flight for Life Colorado, and home care and hospice services, including MercyHealth Foundation, Mercy Home Health and Hospice of Mercy.

“Becoming part of a well-respected statewide network of hospitals is something we look forward to," Keith Newbold,chairman of the Mercy board of directors, said. We saw the opportunity to work with hospitals that have the samemission to improve patient care and share resources."

The official approval of the merger means a transition plan will start, Bruzzese said.

The trend in health care has been toward consolidation, Bruzzese said. As other CHI facilities moved in that direction,Mercy saw the opportunity to join them. On the technical side, Mercy now will report to Catholic Health Initiativesthrough Centura, Bruzzese said.

Mercy was also affiliated with Centura from 1996-99.

Catholic Health Initiatives operates in 20 states.

daler@durangoherald.com