Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has declined to intervene in a transaction that will put the day-to-day management of two secular Denver-area hospitals under the guidance of Catholic ethical directives.
Colo. official won't move against Exempla deal
The Nov. 5 decision from Suthers all but clears the way for three-hospital Exempla Healthcare, Denver, to come under the control of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, Lenexa, Kan. That includes two suburban Exempla hospitals that in the past were run under nonreligious management: 423-bed Exempla Lutheran Medical Center, Wheat Ridge; and 150-bed Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center, Lafayette.
Community activists have protested the changes because they would prevent the hospitals from performing services banned under Catholic rules, including vasectomies, tubal ligations, abortions and certain end-of-life practices. The Sisters of Charity system has been under pressure by Catholic leaders to gain more operational control over Exempla before making capital investments in the system.
Suthers said that a state law giving his office greater authority over hospital ownership transfers did not apply to the Exempla situation because the changes were being made through amendments to the Exempla bylaws, and not a true transfer of assets. The changes, which are still pending approval from the Federal Trade Commission, are expected to be finalized by the end of the year.
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