Merger Watch counts the creation of Burdett as a victory, calling it a “smart compromise” on its website and something worth emulating nationwide. The group asked Reed and Boyle to talk to officials involved in the pending Louisville deal with the hope a similar solution could reached. Boyle said that hasn't happened.
Reconciling the Catholic directives wasn't the only factor slowing the deal. The area is left with one competitor, 628-bed Albany Medical Center, and that placed the deal under close antitrust scrutiny by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC closed its investigation into the merger in April.“It was a long process and part of that reason is this was a three-way, a three-party opposed to a two-party deal,” Boyle said. Officials said integrating the four hospitals could take three years as they nurture a new corporate culture, update computer systems and shift staff to improve efficiency. There's a looming question of layoffs that could eliminate redundancies, but officials said the reductions would be larger if the merger never happened.
The new entity will employ more than 11,700 across more than 125 locations, and officials estimate an annual budget of about $1.1 billion. Boyle stressed the merger doesn't only include the four hospitals, mentioning its Eddy system of continuing care as a valuable asset in the transaction. Boyle said the variety of services allows St. Peter's flexibility as healthcare delivery shifts, possibly toward becoming an accountable care organization.
“If, for some reason, ACOs don't work for us, we will still pursue the clinical-integrated network and work with payers,” Reed said. “The important thing is we will still meet the spirit of the model which is having a service organization across the continuum and being able to work with payers.”