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Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health to Merge

By Philip Betbeze  
   December 07, 2017

New health system will be one of the largest in the nation, and both CEOs will be retained.

After a year of negotiations, Dignity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives have signed a definitive agreement to merge operations. The new, as-yet unnamed health system will include more than 700 care sites and 139 hospitals, approximately 159,000 employees and more than 25,000 physicians and other advanced practice clinicians.

The organizations are geographically complementary with no overlap across hospital service areas, a factor that may help the deal overcome any antitrust concerns.

 "We are joining together to create a new Catholic health system … that is positioned to accelerate the change from sick-care to well-care across the United States,” said Kevin E. Lofton, chief executive officer of CHI, in a press release. “Our new organization will have the talent, depth, breadth, and passion to improve the health of every person and community we serve."

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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. It is being billed as a merger of equals, with neither organization acquiring the other.

“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.

Philip Betbeze is the senior leadership editor at HealthLeaders.

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