The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority and Mercy Health Services, both headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., have cut a deal that links nearly 70% of the acute-care market in the city through a common board.
Spokesmen for the two organizations said the deal, which they're calling a partnership, won't pose any antitrust problems because each of the players has retained its separate corporate identity, and the two won't be sharing financial assets.
They also said the deal is exempt from federal antitrust scrutiny because the hospital authority is a political subdivision of the state, not a private company.
For those reasons, they said, the authority and Mercy weren't required to file any premerger notification documents with the federal government.
The hospital authority operates the largest and smallest acute-care facilities in Charlotte: 808-bed Carolinas Medical Center and 116-bed University Hospital. Mercy operates 276-bed Mercy Hospital in Charlotte.
The city's only other general acute-care facility is 590-bed Presbyterian Hospital. Presbyterian also operates a 116-bed orthopedic specialty hospital in Charlotte through a joint venture with Healthtrust-The Hospital Co.
Under the deal unveiled last week, the hospital authority and Mercy have formed a partnership organization called Carolinas Health Systems, a new not-for-profit corporation. The hospital authority owns 70% of the corporation and controls eight seats on the corporation's 12-member board of directors. Mercy, meanwhile, owns 30% of Carolinas and controls the remaining four board seats.
The board appointed Harry Nurkin, the hospital authority's president and chief executive officer, as the CEO of the new corporation. Edward Schlicksup Jr., Mercy's president and CEO, was appointed chief operating officer.
Through the partnership, the hospital authority and Mercy "will jointly develop programs to enhance the quality of healthcare provided within their combined services areas," they said in a written statement.