Exempla Healthcare filed a second lawsuit as part of its effort to block one of its co-owners, the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, from buying out its partner, the Community First Foundation of Arvada, Colo. In a letter sent to staff, Jeff Selberg, president and chief executive officer of the Denver-based, three-hospital system, said a lawsuit was filed Jan. 25 aiming to set aside Colorado Attorney General John Suthers Dec. 27, 2007, opinion in which Suthers stated that the $311 million deal may proceed.
Selbergs letter stated that the lawsuit was filed to ensure that Exempla remains true to its founding purpose: sustaining the historic missions and values of very different hospitals. The hospitals involved are: 172-bed Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette, Colo.; 543-bed Lutheran Medical Center, in Wheat Ridge, Colo.; and a Catholic institution, 436-bed St. Joseph in Denver.
Selberg has argued that, under Sisters of Charitys control, all Exempla facilities would operate under the Catholic Churchs Ethical and Religious Directives, which prohibit certain medical procedures. He said this would violate the 1997 joint operating agreement under which the system was formed. Suthers, however, noted thatout of 370,224 patient encounters at Lutheran in 2006only 389 involved procedures prohibited under the directives.
There are already two other lawsuits in progress, one filed by Exempla and another filed jointly by a physician, a Boulder, Colo. resident, and an end-of-life care-advocacy group. -- by Andis Robeznieks
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