The non-profit organization, Providence St. Joseph Health, and hospitals operator, Ascension Health, are in talks for a possible merger. The resulting entity would be the largest hospital chain in the US.
A source familiar with the situation claims the two Catholic health organizations have grown closer to an agreement. Another unnamed source, however, states that no deal will be announced in the near future.
A merger between Washington-based Providence St. Joseph and Ascension Health of St. Louis, would reportedly have under their collective wing 191 hospitals, many clinics and about $45 billion in annual revenue. The new health organization would also surpass the largest hospital operator, the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). According to Modern Healthcare data, the HCA has 177 hospitals and an annual revenue of $41.5 billion.
While no additional information about managing existing assets has been provided, one anonymous source claims that the two health organizations considered moving the joint headquarters to Chicago.
Mega-mergers have been an ongoing trend this year in all industries, but the first example that comes to mind is the recent CVS Health/Aetna $69 billion deal. Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health have also announced their merger, totaling to 139 hospitals and a combined revenue of $28.4 billion.
As with previous merger announcements in the health sector, there are critics who consider such moves to eventually raise health service prices and reduce individual choice.
Providence St. Joseph Health began as a mission in the mid-1800s and now it has grown to become the West Coast’s dominant health-care network.
As of now, Providence St. Joseph and Ascension Health dabble in different markets, with Providence in the West, and Ascension in the South and Midwest. If a merger were to happen, church authorities would need to sign off on it.
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