Sisters of Charity-Exempla hospital shakeup to alter Denver-area health care

On the ground in the Denver metro area, health care is being reformed for thousands of residents but the changes have nothing to do with pending federal health-care legislation. They come from the private sector. Kansas-based Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System is taking operational control of three hospitals formerly run by Exempla Health Care: Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge, Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette and Saint Joseph Hospital in Denver. The latest chapter of the deal, reported this week by the Denver Business Journal, has seen five Exempla executives fired.

The move seems tied to the fact that the hospitals will now be run according to Catholic principles, which means new rules limiting reproductive and end-of-life services.

From the Denver Business Journal:

Lutheran Medical Center
Lutheran Medical Center

Jeff Selberg, CEO of Exempla Healthcare, and several other executives are leaving as the Denver hospital operator transitions to control by a Roman Catholic organization, the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, Exempla announced late Wednesday.

In a letter to Exempla employees, William Murray — president and CEO of the Sisters of Charity and also the new chairman of Exempla’s board — said the board “initiated these changes as a means to further integrate” Exempla leadership with Sisters of Charity.

It’s the latest chapter in a long-running saga that once had Exempla going to court to try to block a takeover by Sisters of Charity.

The transition means that all of Exempla’s hospitals will now be managed under Roman Catholic principles, including rules regarding reproductive services and end-of-life medical decisions.

Critics of the control transfer had complained that the transaction would limit medical choices for Jefferson County residents.

A Sisters of Charity spokeswoman said last year that it would eventually appoint new management for Exempla — with the presumption that Selberg, who had led efforts to block the transfer, would be ousted.

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