Providers in the San Antonio market were poised for consolidation when MODERN HEALTHCARE visited earlier this spring (April 4, p. 66).
That consolidation is now well under way, and physicians and hospital executives are abuzz about what the future will bring. An early casualty seems to be the Crystal Ball, an annual fund-raiser for Southwest Texas Methodist Hospital that was canceled last week.
Methodist, one of the city's largest not-for-profit facilities, is merging with four hospitals owned by Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. That will change Methodist's tax status to for-profit from not-for-profit.
So, what happens to Methodist's philanthropic foundation, a 20-year-old organization whose primary mission is to raise funds for the tax-exempt hospital?
"The feeling of our board was we could not continue to solicit funds," said interim foundation director Dianne Dorsett, when asked about the Crystal Ball's cancellation. The event annually raised about $150,000 for the hospital and has contributed to what is now a $4 million endowment.
The foundation may continue after Methodist merges with Columbia/HCA, but it's still up in the air what will happen to the endowment funds and what the future mission of the foundation will be. Half the profits from the Methodist/Columbia network will flow to a foundation, but whether that will be the existing Methodist Foundation or a new one has yet to be decided.
In other cities where Columbia/HCA has merged with or purchased tax-exempt hospitals, the funds flowed to foundations that supported community efforts.
The ball had been scheduled for Sept. 24, and the target date for the Methodist/Columbia deal to close is Oct. 1.
Methodist's merger will be the second major hospital deal in the city this year.
Earlier this month, the city's largest hospital system, Baptist Memorial, acquired St. Luke's Lutheran Hospital, giving Baptist Memorial a 32% inpatient market share. Baptist Memorial officials estimate the merger will save about $4.8 million this year.