Baptist St. Vincent's, a five-hospital system in Jacksonville, Fla., called it quits on Friday after more than four years as a merged organization.
In doing so, it became the latest hospital system to acknowledge that merging doesn't always deliver results as expected.
The system, which controls the two largest hospitals in Jacksonville, plans to return its merged governance and operations functions to two systems during the next four to six months, although it may retain some shared services, such as home care.
Baptist St. Vincent's was created in July 1995 by the consolidation of Baptist Health System and St. Vincent's Health System, both in Jacksonville. Baptist currently has four hospitals, and St. Vincent's has one.
Baptist St. Vincent's is coming apart because "the size and complexity of the combined organization does not foster the flexibility we need for the future," said John Williams Jr., chairman of Baptist Health System's board.
The announcement of the system's split comes just seven months after a physician-hospital organization in which Baptist St. Vincent's owned 50% filed for bankruptcy (July 19, 1999, p. 2). At the time, the PHO's chief executive officer said the filing would mean a $20 million to $25 million hit for Baptist St. Vincent's.
A spokeswoman for Baptist St. Vincent's said the system is not losing money, although she could not provide specific financials.
St. Vincent's is a division of St. Louis-based Ascension Health, the Roman Catholic hospital company created last year by the merger of the Daughters of Charity National Health System, St. Louis, and the Sisters of St. Joseph Health System, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Baptist St. Vincent's two flagship facilities in Jacksonville are 506-bed Baptist Medical Center and 722-bed St. Vincent's Medical Center.
A steering committee made up of board members and executives will be developing a restructuring plan to divorce the system. The cost of the restructuring is unknown.
Also unknown is who will run the two separate systems. No layoffs are planned.