CHI, Trinity Health to Combine Four Hospitals

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , September 2, 2009

Catholic Health Initiatives and Trinity Health will combine four Eastern Oregon-Western Idaho hospitals into a single local system. The agreement calls for transferring the three CHI facilities to Trinity Health, and creating a new regional healthcare system to be operated by Trinity Health, the two health systems said in a joint announcement Wednesday.

Three of the hospitals--Mercy Medical Center, in Nampa, ID; Holy Rosary Medical Center, in Ontario, OR; and St. Elizabeth Health Services, in Baker City, OR--are part of CHI, based in Denver. The fourth hospital is St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center of Boise, a part of Novi, MI-based Trinity Health.

"Combining the strengths of our three hospitals with Saint Alphonsus appears to be the best strategy for the future of our healthcare ministry," says Kevin Lofton, president and CEO of CHI. "Beyond our common values and religious heritage, all four hospitals are dedicated to improving the health of the communities they serve."

"St. Alphonsus and Trinity Health have expressed a commitment to create a new regional health system which will sustain our ministries in Baker City, Ontario and Nampa over the long term, valuing our dedicated staff and recruiting much-needed providers to underserved communities," Lofton says.

Trinity Health President and CEO Joseph R. Swedish called the agreement "a historic day for the residents in Idaho and eastern Oregon who will soon benefit from an integrated regional health system."

Over the last several months, executives and board members at Mercy Medical Center, Holy Rosary Medical Center, St. Elizabeth's Health Services, and CHI have been exploring the benefits of aligning the three hospitals with another hospital or health system. If the facilities combine, all facilities will remain open and it is expected that most employees will continue in their positions. Following due diligence, the deal is expected to be finalized within the next several months.

CHI is the second-largest faith-based healthcare system in the nation, with 78 hospitals; 40 long-term care, assisted- and residential-living facilities, and two community health-services organizations operating in 20 states. Together, these facilities provided $536 million in charity care and community benefit in the 2008 fiscal year. CHI has more than 65,000 employees and annual operating revenues of $8.2 billion.

Trinity Health is the nation's fourth-largest Catholic healthcare system with 45 acute-care hospitals, 379 outpatient facilities, 29 long-term care facilities, and numerous home health offices and hospice programs based in seven states. Trinity employs 45,000 full-time staff and had $7 billion in annual operating revenue in 2008.

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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