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    Arkansas Business: Hot Springs hospitals no longer merging

    6:52 AM, Jun 28, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Arkansas Business) -- Stocks up yesterday after a report showed consumer spending rose 0.3 percent last month. This, as incomes increased at the fastest pace in three months.

    Americans seeking unemployment falls 9,000

    And in more good news: the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell by 9,000 to 346,000 last week. The report added to evidence that the job market is improving modestly.

    Hot Springs hospitals no longer merging

    Here in Arkansas, a planned hospital merger in Hot Springs has been called off.

    Capella Healthcare of Franklin, Tenn., and Mercy Health of Chesterfield, Mo., said Thursday that they have ended discussions to merge National Park Medical Center and Mercy Hot Springs.

    The move comes more than a year after the two originally announced the deal, which would have merged Mercy's hospital with Capella's National Park Medical Center under Capella's ownership.

    The merger drew opposition almost from the start. It prompted one of Mercy's national board members, Oaklawn Park General Manager Eric Jackson, to resign from the board in protest.

    The deal also faced criticism from local Catholic Church leaders -- and the church would have had to approve the deal because of its affiliation with Mercy Hospital.

    Inuvo: Move to Arkansas nearly complete

    Also yesterday, shareholders of Inuvo Inc. of Conway learned that the company has nearly completed its transition to Arkansas and hired 23 people here since arriving earlier this year.

    CEO Richard Howe led the Internet marketing company's annual meeting in Conway.

    He said demand has been strong for jobs at the company.
    Inuvo announced in January that it was moving its headquarters to Conway from New York and Florida and that it planned to hire 50 workers over the next four years.

    Shoffner back in federal court

    And finally, former Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner was back in federal court yesterday pleading guilty to 14 federal counts of extortion and bribery.

    The court set a trial date for July 29 in front of U.S. District Judge J. Leon Holmes. The trial is expected to take at least four days.

    Shoffner was arrested May 18 after investigators alleged she accepted $36,000 in payments from a broker who did business with her office.

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