In December 2017, Dignity Health announced its plans to merge with Colorado-based Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI). If approved, the merger will create a new Catholic healthcare organization that will span more than half of the United States.
Keep reading to learn more about this new alliance and how it might impact Bay Area healthcare.
Dignity Health and CHI Share Common Values
As part of their alignment, Dignity Health and CHI polled 50 of their executive leaders about organizational culture and values. When the executives outlined their organization’s top strengths, seven out of ten were the same. Both Dignity Health and CHI recognize the importance of compassionate care and the need for healthcare transformation.
While the two hospital groups have collaborated for more than a decade, the current alignment began in 2016. At that time, their Boards of Directors determined the organizations:
- Have complementary missions and values, as well as a shared goal of transforming the healthcare industry
- Serve similar communities
- Have similar strategic goals concerning population health management, quality, healthcare consumerism, and growth
- Could benefit from the other’s clinical excellence and operating model
After intensive reviews and analysis, Dignity Health and CHI signed a Ministry Alignment Agreement on December 6, 2017. State and federal regulators are currently reviewing the merger. A series of public hearings were held at all of Dignity Health’s California hospitals earlier this fall.
According to Dignity Health and CHI, the new organization will be committed to:
- Shifting the focus of healthcare away from sick-care and towards wellness
- Improving healthcare access by expanding outpatient and virtual care options
- Increasing investment in projects that will enhance access and quality of care
- Creating a more compassionate and personalized healthcare experience for consumers
- Advocacy for the most vulnerable healthcare users in their communities
It will also improve health outcomes by encouraging its hospitals to share clinical data and advances.
The Merger Would Create the Largest Non-Profit Hospital Company in the U.S.
When combined, Dignity Health and CHI will include 140 hospitals in 28 states. The organization will earn an estimated $28.4 billion in revenue, and a patient will enter one of its facilities every two seconds. It will also spend an estimated $4.7 billion on charity care and community benefit programs. Based on revenue, it would become the largest non-profit hospital company in the United States.
How Would the Dignity Health and CHI Merger Impact Bay Area Healthcare?
In its assessment, Dignity Health and CHI do not anticipate any significant decrease in the Bay Area’s access to quality healthcare. CHI does not currently own or operate hospitals or healthcare facilities in California. There is no plan to close any of the existing Dignity Health hospitals or care centers (including those within the Canopy Health alliance) and the merger should not impact patients’ access to their current physicians or providers.
While the new healthcare organization will be Catholic, some of its hospitals are non-Catholic — including Saint Francis Hospital and Sequoia Hospital. These facilities will remain non-Catholic. To date, the new organization does not have a name.
Bannow, T. (2018, August 11). A waiting game: Meeting minutes reveal challenges to closing CHI, Dignity megadeal. Modern Healthcare. Retrieved from http://www.modernhealthcare.com
JD Healthcare (2018, August 10). Effect of the Ministry Alignment Agreement between Dignity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives on the availability and accessibility of healthcare services to the communities served by Dignity Health’s hospitals located in the City and County of San Francisco. Dignity Health. Retrieved from https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/charities/nonprofithosp/dignity-chi-san-francisco-healthcare-impact-statement-report.pdf