Oklahoma City hospitals say merger would allow them to better serve patients

Wednesday, January 14th 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Two Oklahoma City hospital have started negotiations that may lead to a merger to would result in better access to health care, officials said Tuesday.

Officials from both hospitals released a statement Tuesday saying they were discussing a merger that would allow them to better serve the health care needs of people in Oklahoma City and surrounding areas.

``There's a sense that synergy exists between our two operations,'' said Cynthia Archiniaco, a St. Anthony vice president.

``We're two faith-based operations that provide health care services and meet other ministerial needs in the community,'' Archiniaco said.

Archiniaco said St. Anthony and Deaconess, whose leaders initiated the discussions, have similar interests _ including free clinics for indigent patients, mental-health counseling and healthy lifestyle programs.

``We won't close the doors at any level of discussions ... including a merger,'' Archiniaco said.

St. Anthony offers acute-care services that include oncology, cardiology and mental health.

Deaconess' medical specialties include oncology, radiation, cardiology, urology, women's health and mental health.

Deaconess also operates a retirement-living community and other outpatient clinics in the Oklahoma City metro area.

A few months ago, St. Anthony agreed to keep its near-downtown medical campus instead of relocating elsewhere in the metro area.

The hospital had expressed concerns about the condition of the neighborhood.

Hospital and city officials agreed to a plan that would establish boundaries for the campus and include streetscaping, street closures and traffic flow.

St. Anthony is the state's third-largest hospital with 800 beds and 4,000 employees.

It announced in July that it planned to spend up to $250 million to renovate its current location or move to another part of town.