—Ascension Health Care Network ended its negotiations to buy St. Clare's Health System in Denville from Catholic Health Initiatives. In March, the board of St. Clare's, which has four campuses in New Jersey, recommended the sale to the Ascension Health Care Network, a for-profit venture formed in 2011 by Ascension Health Alliance and private-equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners. According to an annual report released in October by Englewood, Colo.-based CHI, officials expected to close the deal by June 2013. St. Clare's operating revenue for the fiscal year ended June 30 was $334.9 million, according to that report. CHI, which bought St. Clare's in 2008 from Marian Health System in Tulsa, Okla., said in a statement that the system will continue to search for a new owner for St. Clare's: “As healthcare reform rapidly evolves, it is critical for healthcare providers to be part of regional networks of coordinated healthcare delivery organizations including physicians, health facilities, payers and other related healthcare entities.”
Ascension Health Care Network was created to give struggling Catholic hospitals an ownership option that wouldn't compromise their religious identities. The network has yet to complete an acquisition. “Ascension Health Care Network continues to actively identify and engage potential partners throughout the United States,” the network's President and CEO Leo Brideau said in a news release marking the end of its bid for St. Clare's.