Vatican asks Mercy to address LR bishop's concerns

HOT SPRINGS (AP) - The Vatican has slowed the merger of two Hot Springs hospitals after the Diocese of Little Rock raised concerns over the transfer of Mercy Hospital to Capella Healthcare.

Mercy was formerly known as St. Joseph's Mercy Health System. In September, the hospital signed a merger agreement with Capella Healthcare, the parent company of National Park Medical Center in Hot Springs.

The deal requires approval from the Vatican because of Mercy's relationship with the Catholic Church.

The Sentinel-Record reports that the Vatican asked Mercy to "engage in further discussions" with Bishop Anthony Taylor of the Diocese of Little Rock. Taylor issued a statement in April saying that the merger could negatively impact "the medical care available to the poor and on the Hot Springs community in general."

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