Bain Ferris says there's no reason it can't be done. To prove his point, the president and chief executive officer of St. Vincent Hospitals and Health Services helped engineer the recent merger of his institution with another Indianapolis organization, Community Hospitals.
"It" is the linkage of Catholic and non-Catholic hospital organizations, an inevitability in the push to build community-care networks. Although it's not easy to overcome the obstacles raised by issues like abortion, sterilization, governance and other volatile matters, the Indianapolis case shows thoughtful compromise can work.
Those same issues have derailed merger talks among three hospitals in Portland, Maine. Mercy Hospital pulled the plug on plans for an integrated healthcare system in Maine's largest city because of church concerns.
Two examples with opposite outcomes shows that leadership can make the difference.