Saint Francis Care in Connecticut plans to join Trinity Health

January 15, 2015

Hartford, Conn.-based Saint Francis Care will become part of Trinity Health as Trinity Health forms a regional, nonprofit Catholic health care system in New England that also will include another Trinity Health system, the Sisters of Providence Health System in Springfield, Mass.

Saint Francis Care and Trinity Health announced their definitive agreement Dec. 17, after eight months of discussion. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Dr. Richard Gilfillan, Trinity Health's president and chief executive, said the new collaboration will improve care coordination in the region, leading to improvements in patients' health. Springfield is about 25 miles north of Hartford. Trinity Health will invest at least $275 million in the new regional ministry over five years once the deal is complete. Trinity Health and Saint Francis Care leaders said part of those funds will be for bricks-and-mortar improvements to facilities, and much of it will be to improve care across the continuum including by funding information technology or ambulatory settings to advance population health in the region.

Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health is one of the nation's largest Catholic health care systems, providing patient care in 21 states at 86 hospitals and 128 continuing care facilities. Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center is a teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and licensed for 617 beds. Saint Francis Care includes the Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital, a 60-bed hospital; and Saint Francis/Mount Sinai Regional Cancer Center.

Sisters of Providence Health System includes Mercy Medical Center, a 182-bed acute care hospital in Springfield; and the 126-bed Providence Behavioral Health Hospital in Holyoke, Mass.

Leadership moving forward
Christopher Dadlez, president and chief executive of Saint Francis Care, will lead the new regional health care system, which has not yet been named. Daniel P. Moen will continue as Sisters of Providence Health System president and chief executive and be involved in the formation of the new regional ministry, according to the systems. A new regional board will be created for the regional health care system, with existing local boards serving in an advisory capacity, system leaders said.

Dadlez said Saint Francis Care realized a few years ago that it needed to become part of a larger organization due to changes under health reform and due to increased focus on caring for the health of populations. Despite growing income from operations by about 40 percent in the last fiscal year, profit margins have hovered at about 2 percent, he said. "It's been a beautiful thing (to) meet Trinity and find out our strategic plans are aligned almost 100 percent; our direction and vision are aligned, and we're about creating in health care a people-centered environment focusing on both our community and the people we serve in a Catholic tradition."

Saint Francis Care will be Trinity Health's first hospital in Connecticut; Trinity Health owns The Mercy Community, which includes Saint Mary Home, a skilled nursing home, and The McAuley, a continuing care retirement community, colocated on a 65 acre campus in West Hartford.

Saint Francis Care previously had been in talks to become part of Ascension Health Care Network, a for-profit arm of the St. Louis-based Catholic nonprofit Ascension. Dadlez called Ascension a "great organization," but said he thinks Trinity Health is a better fit for Saint Francis Care, which will remain a nonprofit.

Saint Francis Care is currently sponsored by the Archdiocese of Hartford, which approved the agreement. The deal still needs approvals required by canon law, and regulatory approvals from state and federal agencies. Saint Francis Care will be transferred to sponsorship by Trinity Health's sponsor, Catholic Health Ministries. The systems said they hope to complete the deal late this year.

 

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