Murchison, Frank E 1998-11-04

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Lubbock attorney Frank Murchison discusses his role in the creation of Covenant Health System and the significance of the merger of St. Mary’s and Methodist Hospitals.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Frank E. Murchison

Additional Parties Recorded: None

Date: November 04, 1998

Location: Lubbock, Texas

Interviewer: Fred Allison

Length: 55 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: Frank Murchison, background, Born in Vernon, Texas, Move to Lubbock, Lubbock schools, Texas Tech University, Graduate of Texas Tech Law School, 1974, Private practice, Decatur, Texas, Return to Lubbock, 1975, Practicing attorney in Key, Carr, Evans and Fout Divisions, Senior partner in McClesky, Harriger, Brazill and Graf, 1987, Joined Jim Hund’s and Bill Harriger’s firm, 1998, George McClesky, father and son, Impression of senior McClesky, Consummate lawyer, Perspective on Texas Tech Law School, Value of training, Success of early graduates, Reason for returning to Lubbock, Job opportunity, Trial and litigation experience, Health care litigation, Defense of doctors, Marion Key involvement with Methodist Hospital, Board member, Legal counsel, Growth of medical care in Lubbock and impact on legislation, Involvement with merger (St. Mary’s and Methodist hospitals), Represented Board of Directors, Methodist Hospital System (December 1995), Early discussions concerning merger (Oct. 1995), Description of Methodist Hospital System to subordinate parts, Board of Directors role, Relationship with officers and administrators, Origins of merger, Sept.-Oct. 1995, unfruitful early meetings, Reasons for considering merger, Managed care, Regulatory agencies, Efficiency, Trend toward mergers throughout country, Frank Murchison (again)—role in merger, Oversight of lawyers involved, Protect interests of Lubbock Methodist Hospital, System and its Board, Maintenance of traditional mission outlined by Methodist Church, Law firms that represented Methodist Hospital, Range of issues, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) concerns, Specific issues, Control of Methodist once merger completed, Protection of Methodist in future mergers and transactions, Interests of Northwest Texas Conference of Methodist Church, Lawyers efforts to enhance position of client hospitals, Methodist hospital debt, Bargaining chip for St. Mary’s, Assets of Methodist Hospital, Relationship of Methodist and Catholic churches.

Tape 1, Side 2: Relationship of Methodist and Catholic churches (cont), Bishop Norris strong support of merger, Positive effects, Support of Northwest Texas Conference, Murchison’s presentation, Catholic Church support, Philosophical questions raised by merger, Sisters of St. Joseph, Orange, California, Sponsoring congregation, Relationship with St. Mary’s and its Board of Directors, Differences in churches’ involvement with respective hospitals, Financial positions, Sterilization, Invitro fertilization and abortion, Both churches relatively close on these issues, Chaplaincy program, Pay issues, Role of nuns in medical care, Sister Claire Olivier’s role in management, Ministry prominent in mission of Covenant, Concept strongly supported by both churches, Bishop Norris, Theological historical significance, Opposition in both churches solely on theology, Not vocalized, Impact on day to day operation of hospitals, Consolidation of medical staffs, Hospitals’ differing roles, Relationship of Covenant to Texas Tech Medical School, Commitment to assisting Medical School, Charlie Trimble’s insistence, Impact on level of competition with University Medical System (UMC), David Smith highly regarded, Significance of merger, Health care provided by Christian organization vice for profit organization, High standard of health care, Geographic size, FTC considerations, Unique area, Competition, Size of Covenant, 1,400 beds, In league with largest health systems in the nation, Rural character.

Range Dates: 1950-1998

Bulk Dates: 1995-1998

Access Information

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Recording Format Notes:


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