Vatican vetoes merger of New Jersey hospitals

If you’re considering the risk implications of a merger with a Catholic hospital, don’t forget to ask the Pope. He might say no. The Vatican rejected a proposed partnership between St. Peter’s Medical Center, a 416-bed Catholic hospital, and the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, a 409-bed facility. Both are in New Brunswick, NJ, less than a mile from each other. The administrators had proposed merging operations and future revenues, while keeping the ownership separate. The deal was expected to save $75 million over the next five years through cost efficiencies.

Robert Wood Johnson had agreed not to perform any procedures that conflict with Catholic teaching, but that apparently was not enough for the Vatican. Bishop Edward T. Hughes of Metuchen, NJ, issued a statement explaining that the Vatican vetoed the merger because it "poses too great a risk that Catholic teaching might be blurred or Catholic moral practices might be violated."