SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) - Mercy Medical Center and St. Luke's Regional Medical Center have talked about a joint partnership before... nearly merging in the 1990s.
The ball began rolling in 1993... when officials for St. Luke's Regional Medical Center, and then-Marian Health Center, approved a joint resolution to explore the possibility of some kind of cooperation between the two hospitals.
A group, made up of officials from both hospitals-- dubbed the "Phoenix Group"-- met for months claiming cooperation was essential to the two hospitals' survival.
In February of 1994, St. Luke's put merger efforts on hold to "evaluate new options."
At the time, CEOs of both institutions remained confident they could find some "middle ground."
Six months later, in July on 1994, Marian offered to re-start merger talks with St. Luke's. St. Luke's countered with a new wrinkle... a 50-50 proposal.
Half of the board members of the newly-merged hospital would come from each organization's present board.
Also part of St. Luke's proposal... the new organization would assume all of the debt from both hospitals... and they'd have to agree on "reproductive care issues." Boards from both hospitals continued to meet for another three months.
Then, in January 1995, talks abruptly ended, and the two hospitals agreed to remain separate organizations.
At the time, both hospitals concluded that a consolidated organization in Sioux City wasn't achievable at that time.
Ironically, Marian Health Center was created by the 1977 merger of St. Vincent's and St. Joseph's hospitals, in Sioux City.
In May of 2000, Marian was part of the major consolidation of two Catholic health organizations... to create the Mercy Health Network.
In 1995, changes came to St. Luke's, too.
The hospital allied itself with Iowa Health System, which-- at the time-- was Iowa's largest health care provider with hospitals in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Waterloo.