Mercy Health closes merger with Maryland health system

Springfield’s largest employer has finalized a merger with Bon Secours, an East Coast hospital network, to become one of the largest health systems in the U.S., according to information from the new company.

Bon Secours Health System and Mercy Health announced the two ministries have formed Bon Secours Mercy Health.

The News-Sun reported earlier this year the merger with Bon Secours Health system would include 43 hospitals and more than 10 million patient visits annually. The deal won't affect local facilities, hospital officials said, including Springfield Regional Medical Center and Mercy Health-Urbana Hospital.

In addition, President and CEO John M. Starcher Jr. announced a new leadership team to take effect immediately.

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Mercy Health, headquartered in Cincinnati, is the largest employer in Springfield. It’s also the largest health system in Ohio and among the top five employers in the state, with more than 33,500 employees serving communities throughout Ohio and in Kentucky.

The new combined entity would be one of the 20th largest health systems in the U.S. and the fifth largest Catholic health system with $8 billion in net operating revenue. It would employ 57,000 associates and more than 2,100 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians.

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The company announced a team of 14 senior leaders who will set the strategy and operational standards for the new health care system. The deal was finalized just six months after it was originally announced. That was possible due to a similar culture between the two health systems, said Bon Secours Mercy Health President and CEO John M. Starcher, Jr.

“We have been blessed with an abundance of leadership talent across both Bon Secours and Mercy Health,” said Starcher. “Each of these leaders brings significant experience and a clear vision for how we can work together to ensure patients remain at the center of everything we do. Their leadership and expertise will be key to our success as we continue working to integrate physician, clinical and operational leadership across our growing ministry and transform the way we provide care to the communities we serve.”

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The ministry will provide about $640 million per year in charity care and community benefit programs, Starcher said.

Bon Secours Health System also is a nonprofit Catholic health system and is sponsored by Bon Secours Ministries. That company operates in Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, Kentucky, Florida and New York. It owns, manages or maintains joint ventures for 20 hospitals and 27 post-acute care facilities or agencies, including skilled nursing facilities, home care and hospice services, and assisted living facilities.

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It’s becoming more common for large health care systems to merge at a time when there’s a lot of uncertainty in the marketplace, including proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act and debates over Medicaid expansion, said Bryan Bucklew, president and CEO of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association.

“Anthing that can be done to enhance resources to provide services to the region is going to be a positive thing for patients,” Bucklew said of the trend of health care entities looking at mergers as one way of coping with changes in the market.

Health-care mergers and acquisitions spiked last year, according to a report by Kaufman, Hall and Associates. About 115 transactions were announced last year, the report says, up about 13 percent compared to 2016. Of those, 11 transactions involved sellers with net revenues of $1 billion or more.

“Health care companies are looking at themselves and trying to figure out how they can provide the right care at the right time in the right facility,” Bucklew said.

The Springfield News-Sun has provided extensive coverage of health care in Clark and Champaign Counties. For this story, the paper covered a merger between two health care systems and explained what impact that move might have for local patients.

Facts & Figures:

$8 billion — Combined revenue if entities merges

57,000 — Estimated combined employees

7 — States where companies have a presence

10 million — Estimated patient encounters combined

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