The two hospitals of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. — Saint Marys Hospital and Methodist Hospital — will transition to become a single licensed hospital under the name Mayo Clinic Hospital – Rochester beginning Jan. 1. The change means Saint Marys Hospital no longer will be designated as an official Catholic health care institution.
Those involved in the transition made the announcement March 25, saying it marks the next step in a hospital integration which began in 1986. Saint Marys and Methodist Hospital, located about a mile apart, have been operating under two hospital licenses despite a common governance and management structure. The hospitals have been making separate reports of quality, financial and operating data. Mayo Clinic leadership said changes in the health care regulatory environment and changing consumer expectations, with patients often seeking quality and financial data from government and other outside organizations, prompted the transition. They said combining the hospitals under one license will ensure accurate data reporting, allowing patients to have a more complete picture of the care provided at Mayo Clinic.
Under the change — approved by the Academy of Our Lady of Lourdes, which is the legal name of the Sisters of St. Francis, Rochester, Minn., congregation — Saint Marys Hospital will no longer be designated as a Catholic health care institution in the Official Catholic Directory, according to Mayo Clinic spokesman Bryan Anderson. The presence of the Sisters of St. Francis on the Saint Marys campus will remain unchanged, including their work in the hospital and their home in the convent, where 16 sisters reside. Chaplaincy services at both hospital campuses will continue.
Sr. Marilyn Geiger, congregational minister and president of the Sisters of St. Francis, Rochester, said in a statement, "The sisters are sad to realize that the newly merged hospital will no longer be an official Catholic health care institution. But although the Catholic identity and the name of the hospital will change, much will remain the same. The chapel shall continue to be used as a Catholic chapel, a public place of worship available to patients, their families, employees and local residents. The Sisters of St. Francis and Mayo Clinic will continue to work together to perpetuate the Franciscan mission and the values of Mother Alfred Moes and Dr. W.W. Mayo."
The Franciscan sisters have played a vital role from the earliest development of Mayo Clinic. In 1883, when a tornado tore through Rochester, Mayo called on Mother Moes and the Sisters of St. Francis to tend to the injured. Mother Moes soon recognized Rochester needed a hospital and began efforts to have one built, providing that Mayo and his two sons would provide the medical services.
The three organizations — Mayo Clinic, Saint Marys and Methodist Hospital — formally began working together as an integrated medical center in 1986. Combined, Saint Marys and Methodist currently have 2,059 beds.
Under the 1986 agreement, the Sisters of St. Francis relinquished governance and assets and began a "sponsorship of influence" at Saint Marys. A sponsorship board was created to retain the hospital's Catholic identity. As the two hospitals are combined under one license, the Saint Marys sponsorship board will end as a separate entity, but the Franciscan mission and founders' values will continue in a new structure, to be developed, according to Mayo Clinic's Anderson.
Mayo Clinic leadership said it will honor a commitment to the values of the organizations' founders. "From their respective beginnings, Saint Marys Hospital, the Sisters of St. Francis, Methodist Hospital and Mayo Clinic have enjoyed a partnership founded on trust, mutual respect and commitment to meeting the needs of each patient," said Dr. John Noseworthy, Mayo Clinic president and chief executive.
Anderson said Mayo Clinic has "no plan or intent to move services prohibited by the ERDs (the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services) to the current Saint Marys Hospital."
Copyright © 2013 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
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