Sisters of Charity system in talks to transfer Canton, Ohio, hospital to Cleveland Clinic

October 15, 2019

The Sisters of Charity Health System of Cleveland is in talks to transfer ownership of its Canton, Ohio, medical center to the nonprofit Cleveland Clinic. The 476-bed Mercy Medical Center is one of two hospitals in the Sisters of Charity system.

Sisters Of Charity
Thomas J Strauss; Sr. Judith Ann Karam, CSA; and Dr. Tom Mihaljevic pose with documents related to the potential transfer of Sisters of Charity Health System's Mercy Medical Center to Cleveland Clinic. Strauss is president and chief executive of the Sisters of Charity Health System and interim chief executive of Mercy Medical Center of Canton, Ohio; Sr. Karam is congregational leader of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine and is chair of the health system's public juridic person; and Mihaljevic is chief executive and president of Cleveland Clinic.

A nonbinding letter of intent signed by both parties says the transaction under consideration would result in Mercy Medical Center joining the Cleveland Clinic, a multispecialty academic medical center, under what the health systems are calling a "member substitution." Mercy Medical Center would maintain its Catholic identity including by adhering to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. The facility would continue to be sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine through CSA Health System Ministries, the public juridic person of the Sisters of Charity system.

Mercy Medical Center's 10 outpatient health centers, which are in three contiguous Ohio counties, also would join Cleveland Clinic under the arrangement.

Financial details of the transaction were not available as Catholic Health World went to press.

The ownership substitution is pending due diligence review and regulatory and church approvals. The Sisters of Charity system said in late September that the deal could close in several months.

In a release on the transaction, the Sisters of Charity system and Cleveland Clinic said the change in ownership should enable Cleveland Clinic to expand the hospital's services, improve its technology, provide additional support and investment for community needs, build synergies among physicians at the organizations and improve care accessibility for patients.

Sr. Judith Ann Karam, CSA, leader of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine congregation and chair of its PJP, said that by joining Cleveland Clinic the stand-alone Mercy Medical Center would become part of a clinically integrated network.

Thomas J. Strauss, president and chief executive of the Sisters of Charity system, said in the release that the deal would "provide for the long-term sustainability of Catholic health care in Canton."

Currently, the Sisters of Charity system includes two Catholic hospitals: St. Vincent Charity Medical Center in Cleveland and Mercy Medical; as well as grant-making foundations in Cleveland and Canton and Columbia, S.C. The Sisters of Charity system also includes other health and human services organizations and two continuum of care facilities.

The system had previously transferred ownership at three additional hospitals to other organizations. All three hospitals maintain their Catholic identity. The buyer of two of the hospitals is a for-profit system, and the other, a nonprofit.

Cleveland Clinic has a main campus in Cleveland as well as 11 regional hospitals and a network of outpatient locations in north and northeast Ohio. Cleveland Clinic also has locations in Florida and Nevada as well as in Canada, the United Arab Emirates and England.

One of Cleveland Clinic's hospitals, Union Hospital in Dover, is within 25 miles of Mercy Medical.


Copyright © 2019 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.