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Bishop McKnight’s response to decision by SSM Health, MU Health Care to end exclusive negotiations

Bishop W. Shawn McKnight has issued the following statement on the decision by SSM Health and MU Health Care to end exclusive negotiations by allowing their Letter of Intent (LOI) to transfer ownership of SSM Health’s ministries in Jefferson City and Mexico, Mo. to expire, effective January 7, 2020.

“Today’s announcement by SSM Health and MU Health Care to end their formal, exclusive negotiations offers an opportunity for the community to become re-engaged in the important decision of how health care should be provided in Central Missouri.

“I want to encourage those communities affected by this decision to know the Diocese stands with them in writing the next chapter of Catholic health care for our communities. We are better when we work together.

“I believe people from the local community must be involved in the discernment process, and that all parties involved, most especially SSM Health, must hold themselves accountable to the community. If the Catholic Church has learned anything in the past 30 years, it is the necessity of transparency and accountability.

“This time of transition offers us the opportunity to thank God for all the good that has been accomplished by the founding sisters and their collaborators over the years, and to ask for his guidance in continuing this work into the future.”