Nine months after Bloomington’s Local Council of Women voted to allow a merger between Bloomington Hospital and Indianapolis-based Clarian Health Partners, the documents making that union official have been signed.
Last June’s vote was both split and contentious, eventually leading to a call for a re-vote. When that did not happen, the path was clear for Clarian to assume control of the hospital. CEO Mark Moore said Thursday’s ceremony means slight changes in the role of the Council, which founded the hospital he now runs.
“The Local Council of Women will continue to be very involved in the support, the ambassadorship of Bloomington Hospital and healthcare delivery in this community,” Moore said. “One of the principal ways they will continue to do that is through the appointment process of members that need to be appointed locally to our board of directors.”
What begins now is a period of as much as 18 months where hospital officials and leaders from Clarian set goals for a regional healthcare system in southern Indiana. Moore said part of the discussion will center around whether to build a new hospital north of Bloomington, on land which has already been purchased.
“All we can say at this point in time is that we will be addressing our facility needs,” he said. “We’re just not sure yet until we define that well whether they’re best met here, our new location, or some combination of the two.”
Moore said patient needs will dictate whether the new site will eventually become an extension of Bloomington Hospital’s downtown campus or its replacement. Clarian CEO Dan Evans noted during the ceremony that Indiana patients are coming to hospitals requiring more care than ever before, and said the trend stresses the need for new, better-equipped facilities. Evans did not comment on what that may mean for relocating Bloomington Hospital.