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Best Week, Worst Week: LifeBridge acquires Bon Secours; Delegate censured for racial remark

best-worst-030219LifeBridge Health expanded its health care reach in Baltimore this week with a letter of intent to acquire Bon Secours Hospital, while a Harford County Democrat was censured by the House of Delegates for acknowledging the use of a racial slur.

Business writer Tim Curtis reported Tuesday that LifeBridge plans to acquire Bon Secours Hospital while the rest of Bon Secours’ remaining presence in west Baltimore would focus on population health.

Bon Secours officials said the acquisition will allow it to focus on population health, its strength for the past 25 years, which focuses on why people in a particular group have the health outcomes they do. In places such as west Baltimore, population health includes looking at the social determinants of health, which can include access to housing, jobs and primary care.

For LifeBridge, the acquisition adds a fourth acute-care hospital to its mix that joins its own focus on population health. The deal has the support of Gov. Larry Hogan, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and the Health Services Cost Review Commission, LifeBridge said.

Bon Secours Health System is coming off of a merger of its own. It finalized a merger with Mercy Health in September 2018, creating the fifth-largest Catholic health system in the country. Discussions with LifeBridge about acquiring the hospital predated the merger, however.

Meanwhile, Mary Ann Lisanti now faces an uncertain future in the House of Delegates after calls for her resignation this week culminated in a censure vote against the Harford County Democratic delegate.

Government affairs writer Bryan P. Sears reported Thursday the House voted 137-0 to censure the two-term legislator from Harford County. ouse Majority Leader Kathleen Dumais worked through the difficult task of reprimanding one of the House’s own, saying the serious actions involved warrants a serious response from the House.

Lisanti has been  under siege since Monday when The Washington Post reported she referred to an area of Prince George’s County as a “n—– district” during an outing at a local cigar bar in January. She initially told the paper she could not remember using the slur on that occasion but acknowledged having said it in the past, comparing it to cursing or “taking the Lord’s name in vain.”

House Speaker Michael Busch did not speak from the rostrum but instead issued a statement denouncing Lisanti’s use of the slur. Lisanti said it does not represent her “belief system” and rejected calls for her resignation.

Lisanti met with Busch Tuesday and was told she would be removed as chairwoman of a House Economic Matters Subcommittee on Unemployment Insurance. Two days later, Busch stripped her of her assignment on the Economic Matters Committee — the toughest punishment short of expelling a lawmaker.

She agreed to take sensitivity training and on Friday vowed to seek redemption in the wake of her censure and work to regain the trust of her colleagues.