Obamacare firesale: Three Catholic hospitals for sale in Pennsylvania 

It looks like it’s not just insurers that suddenly want to get out of the health care business. Three Catholic hospitals in Pennsylvania are now on the market, and the hospital management is telling the local media that Obamacare is a major reason why the facilities are being unloaded:

Mercy Hospital in Scranton is up for sale.

Those who run the place and all other Mercy facilities in our area said Wednesday they are already in talks with organizations interested in buying.

Mercy Health Partners hopes to have a buyer by the end of the year.

Officials said there are numerous reasons for the sale. One big one is the heath care reform bill signed into law this year.

The potential sale includes Mercy Hospital in Scranton, Mercy Tyler Hospital in Tunkhannock and Mercy Special Care Hospital in Nanticoke.

For almost a century there has been a Catholic hospital in Scranton. Now it looks like that will be coming to an end.

Incredibly, the hospitals are doing well financially, but according to the hospital owners, the new requirements brought on by the new health care legislation makes it hard for them to stay in the hospital business:

“Actually we’re doing well. We’re ahead of budget for the year. It’s more that when we look out over the landscape of health care over the next five years and the needs of these facilities, the needs of this community, we understand a different level of investment will be needed than what we can do on our own,” [Mercy Health Partners CEO Kevin] Cook said.

They said much of that required investment is the result of the health care reform bill passed in Washington.

The CEO said it means the need for more spending and less federal reimbursements.

“Health care reform is absolutely playing a role. Was it the precipitating factor in this decision? No, but was it a factor in our planning over the next five years? Absolutely,” Cook added.

This is likely to be a big story locally, and the hospitals fall in the districts of Rep. Chris Carney, D-Pa., and Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa. In the latest polls, Carney has a very narrow three point lead over his Republican challenger and Kanjorski, 13-term incumbent, is down 11 points against his Republican challenger.

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Mark Hemingway

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