(Updated with comment from HCA at 4:10 p.m. ET.)
Ascension Health, St. Louis, announced that it has started talks to sell various Kansas City, Mo.-area Carondelet Health subsidiaries—including St. Joseph and St. Mary's medical centers—to HCA Midwest Health System.
St. Joseph Medical Center is a 239-bed facility in Kansas City, while St. Mary's Medical Center is a 129-bed facility in Blue Springs, Mo. HCA would work with local Catholic officials to preserve the hospitals' Catholic heritage, according to a news release (PDF)
. Financials details weren't included, and Ascension declined to comment other than the information included in the release.
“This action supports our focus on providing a vital presence in the communities we serve, meaning we serve where we are needed and how we are needed to be there,” Ascension Health President and CEO Robert Henkel said in the release. “Ascension Health will continue to serve the community by helping to meet the growing need for senior services.”
The three long-term-care facilities operated by Carondelet Health and Benedictine Health System—Carondelet Manor, Kansas City; Villa St. Joseph, Overland Park, Kan., and St. Mary's Manor, Blue Springs—and the fundraising foundations for St. Joseph and St. Mary's aren't part of the negotiations with HCA. Ascension would continue to operate those entities. HCA Midwest is the Kansas City-based division of for-profit HCA, which counts six hospitals in Missouri.
“Being a part of a system with a large local presence would strengthen Carondelet's position in this competitive market which is critical to ensure the system's long-term success amidst the myriad of changes that are occurring as part of healthcare reform,” Carondelet President and CEO Fleury Yelvington said in the release.
HCA issued an e-mailed statement describing the talks as in the beginning stages: “We do not have a completion date for these discussions. We believe that a merger of Carondelet Health and HCA Midwest Health System could help to ensure long-term success for both organizations.”
Ten months ago, Ascension reorganized and announced the formations
of the Ascension Health Alliance and the Ascension Health Care Network. One of the shuffle's goals was to put Ascension in a better position to buy Catholic hospitals. Since then no such transactions have been announced.