InterHealth, a St. Paul, Minn.-based healthcare trade group, will split back into two organizations on Jan. 1 after a 4-year-old marriage.
The split was just one of a host of major changes to hit several national healthcare trade groups last week, including the American Medical Association, the Catholic Health Association and the American Hospital Association (See related stories, pages 2 and 16).
InterHealth was created in 1993 by the merger of the former American Protestant Health Association and InterHealth, which both represented mostly Protestant providers.
The group is splitting because of differences over how active it should be in Washington lobbying.
The APHA part of InterHealth will be the new American Protestant Health Alliance, based in Washington. Headed by Sherry Hayes, currently vice president of InterHealth, the new alliance will focus on advocacy and representation in the nation's capital.
Hayes, the alliance's executive director, said the group intends to expand its membership to include Protestant hospitals, health systems, nursing homes, foundations, individuals and other organizations.
The original InterHealth portion of the merged organization, which will be based in St. Paul, said it will decide on a strategic plan in the next three months.
The Rev. Jerry Paul, president and CEO of Deaconess Foundation of St. Louis and a board member of the new APHA, said the group split off because "at a time when there are huge issues being debated in healthcare, and there are fragmented voices -- for-profit vs. nonprofit, rural vs. urban, the various denominations -- a larger Protestant health community should be actively contributing to the discussion."
The decision to break InterHealth into two groups was made at last month's board meeting. InterHealth members had been split for some time over the need for a lobbying arm in Washington.
During its existence, the combined InterHealth often was a vocal critic of investor-owned healthcare.