Involve facility-level experts in merger talks early, advise CHI experts

ORLANDO, Fla. — In completing a merger or acquisition, some organizations focus so heavily on the legal aspects of the transaction that they fail to involve in the planning the people who will implement the deal at the local level. This mistake can lead to severe buyer's remorse or seller's remorse, said two Catholic Health Initiatives executives during an Innovation Forum session Sunday, June 5, at the Catholic Health Assembly.

During "Partnership Integration in a Catholic Health Care Ministry," Peter Banko and Jonathan Timmis explained that Englewood, Colo.-based CHI has blended its transaction and integration teams for mergers and acquisitions. Under this model, market-level leaders involved in every major division of both organizations provide input into the deal from the beginning of the negotiations. Banko is president and chief operating officer of Centura Health, and Timmis is system vice president of strategy integration and operations for CHI. Centura is co-sponsored by CHI and Adventist Health System.

Banko and Timmis spoke of the importance of both organizations' senior leadership fully buying into the deal, of leaders being physically present at the organizations involved and fully engaged in the integration process. They said it's essential to recognize that integration is a slow process and that individual staff members at both organizations will accept the integration at their own pace. People at the organizations also should recognize that both organizations can learn from each other.

Mergers and acquisitions can go more smoothly when more voices are heard. "The integration process is the glue," said Banko, and it must be factored in from the start of strategic discussions.