The possible arrangement comes as Cleveland Clinic continues to pursue an ambitious growth strategy.
Mercy Medical Center, which operates a 476-bed Catholic hospital in Canton, Ohio, might be on its way to full membership in the Cleveland Clinic health system.
The Sisters of Charity Health System, which owns the hospital, signed a non-binding letter of intent Friday to explore a possible deal in which the hospital would retain its Catholic identity through sponsorship by the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, according to announcements from the two health systems.
Cleveland Clinic currently operates 11 regional hospitals across five Ohio counties. This would be its first in Stark County, though it already offers some services in the area. It comes as the prominent academic institution pursues an ambitious growth strategy not only in Ohio but also in Florida, Nevada, and select international locales.
The letter initiates a due diligence process to hammer out the details.
Sister Judith Ann Karam, CSA, congregational leader of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, said in a statement that Mercy Medical Center has been "a treasured ministry" for the organization since its founding 111 years ago.
"Our goal is to position Mercy so its caregivers, physicians and volunteers can continue to provide safe, high-quality Catholic health care to Stark County and beyond for generations to come," Karam said. "In our rapidly evolving health care environment, hospitals have a greater opportunity to successfully serve individuals, families and communities by working in clinically integrated systems of care. And, Cleveland Clinic is Ohio's most comprehensive health care network."
Sisters of Charity Health System President and CEO Thomas J. Strauss, who is also interim CEO of the hospital, said in the statement that joining Cleveland Clinic will improve Mercy Medical Center's ability to serve the local community, with an expanded range of clinical services, growth opportunity, and long-term sustainability.
Tom Strauss, Sister Judith Ann Karam CSA, Tom Mihaljevic (Provided)
Cleveland Clinic President and CEO Tom Mihaljevic, MD, said his organization is committed to protect the delivery of Catholic healthcare in Stark County, where Mercy Medical Center operates.
"Our mission is to do what is best for our patients, and to maintain a commitment to safety, quality and exceptional outcomes at every one of our hospitals," Mihaljevic said.
Mercy Medical Center employs 620 medical staffers and a total of about 2,500 people.
Steven Porter is an associate content manager and Strategy editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.
Photo credit: Mercy Medical Center in Canton, Ohio, which is owned by the Sisters of Charity Health System, is a Catholic hospitals the Cleveland Clinic may add to its health system. (Provided/Cleveland Clinic)
The possible deal would expand Cleveland Clinic's offerings in Stark County, Ohio.
The hospital would keep its Catholic identity.