Executives at Exempla Healthcare in Denver put in place an agreement last week that could finally end the years of litigation between the management of the system and its two religiously mixed sponsors.
Exempla feud resolved
The new agreement gives the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, Lenexa, Kan., operational control over Exempla’s hospitals, but would retain five of Exempla’s 10 board of director seats for the local secular sponsor, Community First Foundation, Arvada, Colo. The new level of control will allow the Sisters of Charity to invest in system infrastructure—including potentially building a new hospital in Denver—while the foundation’s presence will continue a measure of local oversight.
Critically, the new arrangement allows the Sisters of Charity to run all three hospitals under Catholic ethical and religious directives. The religious sponsor in the past had been prohibited by the Denver Archdiocese from taking its five seats on the Exempla board, because two of the hospitals performed a small number of what are considered by the church to be “intrinsically evil” services such as abortions, contraception, and removal of feeding tubes for patients.
The new arrangement allows the Catholic system to participate and invest in Exempla.
In a binding June 5, ruling, arbitrator William Meyer said the deal would be illegal unless the secular foundation agreed to the transfer for no monetary sum because “a member has no equity interest in a charitable nonprofit corporation.”
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