Capella inks Arkansas deal

Franklin company working to take over facility from Catholic system

Franklin-based Capella Healthcare says it has signed an agreement to buy an Arkansas health system with which one of its facilities has been competing.

Under terms of the preliminary deal, Capella will take on ownership of St. Joseph's Mercy in Hot Springs, one of the 31 hospitals in the Mercy Health Systems, the country's eighth-largest Catholic health organization. St. Joseph's has 282 beds and owns an 80-doctor clinic system as well as cancer and trauma centers. According to the American Hospital Directory, the system posted a profit of about $2 million in 2010 on revenues of more than $640 million.

Capella runs 13 hospitals in seven states, including the 166-bed National Park Medical Center in Hot Springs, which has a population of about 40,000. Mercy President and CEO Lynn Britton, said that, "given the environment, we have come to believe that the region will be better served by a unification of health services under one provider." Capella CEO Dan Slipkovich said the proposed combination will help both organizations better handle health care reform and the sluggish economy.

"A more coordinated system will pave the way for improved quality and greater efficiencies in how we provide care," Slipkovich said.

Mercy and Capella will share more details once a definitive agreement is reached.