Catholic Health Initiatives and Sylvania Franciscan Health signed a definitive agreement announced Sept. 10 for Toledo, Ohio-based Sylvania Franciscan Health to join Englewood, Colo.-based CHI. Leadership for the health care systems say the decision came at a time of rapid change in health care, when many smaller health systems are joining larger organizations to create integrated systems of care in a geographic region.
The Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania will become the 13th participating congregation in CHI. Sylvania Franciscan Health President and Chief Executive Jim Pope said in a statement, "Joining Catholic Health Initiatives will further strengthen our mission and expand our influence that is part of the legacy started almost 100 years ago by our sisters."
Under the definitive agreement, CHI's public juridic person, the Catholic Health Care Federation, will become the sole sponsor of Sylvania Franciscan Health. CHI will own Sylvania Franciscan Health's seven hospitals, seven long-term care facilities and four assisted living facilities and its ambulatory care centers, home health services and rehabilitation centers.
These facilities include Franciscan Living Communities, an elder care organization in Kentucky and Ohio; St. Joseph Health System in the Brazos Valley region of Texas; and Sylvania's interest in the Trinity Health System joint venture in Eastern Ohio near the West Virginia border. That system includes two hospitals, Trinity Medical Center East and Trinity Medical Center West, both in Steubenville, Ohio, according to Barb Gessel, Sylvania Franciscan Health's senior vice president, human resources and communications.
CHI and Sylvania Franciscan Health said in a joint statement they expect to complete the transfer by the end of the year. Financial terms were not disclosed.
In Ohio, the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania will continue to sponsor the skilled nursing facility Rosary Care Center and the assisted living facility Our Lady of Grace Hall, both with residents that include vowed religious; the Convent Park Apartments, which provide senior housing; Bethany House, a long-term shelter; and the Sophia Center, a counseling center. The sisters also will continue their education ministry of Lourdes University in Sylvania.
With the merger, CHI, already one of the nation's largest Catholic health systems with 93 hospitals and other facilities in 18 states, will enlarge its geographic footprint in Kentucky, Texas and Ohio.
CHI Chief Executive Kevin Lofton said, "The Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio, have created a strong foundation for Catholic health care, and our shared values will merge to strengthen the delivery of highly reliable, quality care across the system."
The transfer of sponsorship will require approvals from the Congregational Minister and General Council of the Sisters of St. Francis and the CHI Board of Stewardship Trustees as well as federal, state and church authorities.
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