Catholic-Dignity Merger To Forge Nonprofit Health Giant

The CHI St. Alexius hospital in Dickinson

The CHI St. Alexius hospital in Dickinson

San Francisco's Dignity Health plans to merge with Catholic Health Initiatives, a Colorado-based health system, in a deal that would create one of the nation's largest nonprofit health systems by revenue, the organizations announced Thursday. The deal is subject to federal, state and church approval. "This new organization will be grounded in the Catholic values, which are a foundation to our healing ministry".

In an unusual power-sharing agreement, both CEOs will continue with that title in the combined entity, with Dignity CEO Lloyd Dean taking responsibility for all of operations, including clinical, financial, and human resources, while CHI CEO Kevin Lofton will take charge of mission, advocacy, sponsorship and governance, system partnerships, and information technology.

The merger is not expected to impact local employees, given there is no geographical overlap between the two combining organizations.

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The combination, expected to be completed in the second half of 2018, will create a health system with 139 hospitals and 700 care centers in 28 states, and employ 159,000 workers.

"We foresee an incredible opportunity to expand each organization's best practices to respond to the evolving health care environment and deliver high-quality, cost-effective care", said Dean, Dignity's president and CEO.

In September 2016, the two systems formed Precision Medicine Alliance LLC community-based precision medicine program, including precision oncology and plans for four to six more service area launches in the next 12 months.

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S&P downgraded CHI's rating to "BBB+" with a stable outlook in March.

CHI's debt is relatively high for its size at $8.6 billion in June.

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