A controversial merger between the only two hospitals in Batavia, N.Y.-one Catholic, the other secular-has been called off. Instead, the religious order that owns the Catholic hospital is transferring ownership to the secular facility.
The non-Catholic 70-bed Genesee Memorial Hospital was to file for federal antitrust clearance last week.
The 96-bed Catholic facility, St. Jerome Hospital, is part of Buffalo, N.Y.-based Catholic Health System and is sponsored by the regional community of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Buffalo. Once Genesee Memorial takes control, the hospital will cease being Catholic, and the facilities will be renamed.
Earlier merger plans had called for the hospitals to create a new company, Genesee Mercy Healthcare, with ownership split 50-50 between the groups that run the hospitals. Those plans were dropped last month after the hospitals' cash resources turned out to be less than expected, said Paul Battaglia, board chairman of the Genesee Memorial Hospital Association.
The proposed merger had been controversial because Genesee Memorial agreed to follow Roman Catholic rules, which do not allow tubal ligations. The not-for-profit group that owns Genesee Memorial had proposed building a new women's center where patients could go for the procedure.
With Genesee Memorial's ownership of St. Jerome, the availability of women's reproductive services will not change.