Via Christi takes full ownership of Mercy hospital in Manhattan

02/28/2014 12:59 PM

02/28/2014 1:00 PM

The largest health care system in Kansas is getting even larger now that Via Christi Health has fully acquired Mercy Regional Health Center in Manhattan.

The acquisition is part of an agreement between Memorial Hospital Association and Via Christi. The two have had 50-50 ownership of the hospital since 1996, when Saint Mary Hospital and Memorial Hospital combined.

The deal has been in the works for about a year and a half, said Jeff Korsmo, Via Christi Health president and CEO.

“The board there saw that there were opportunities for the hospital they’ve been so much a part of over the years to be even stronger and make stronger contributions to the community,” Korsmo said.

There won’t be any changes to operations or management as a result of the acquisition, Korsmo said.

As Via Christi administrators continue planning for the system, they will likely look at expanding services in Manhattan, Korsmo said.

Some of those potential services could be expanding the structural heart program. Or once transplant services are re-established in Wichita, eventually expanding the program to Manhattan, Korsmo said.

“Our focus right now is how do we consummate this wonderful opportunity and start planning together for our future,” Korsmo said.

Mercy will be renamed Via Christi Hospital later this year, and some work will be done to the hospital to “make sure the Catholic nature of the organization is seen and make sure it looks like any other Via Christi location,” Korsmo said.

As part of the agreement, Via Christi will provide $15.5 million in capital funds to expand outpatient services in the north tower of the hospital. Via Christi will also provide debt forgiveness in the amount of $5.4 million.

According to Mercy Regional Health Center’s 2011 990 IRS tax forms, the hospital had more than $82.3 million in net assets. It is licensed for 150 beds and has about 800 employees.

Via Christi is the largest health system in the state. It was acquired in April 2013 by Ascension Health Care, the largest nonprofit and largest Catholic health care system in the country.

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