Christ Hospital in Cincinnati and University of Cincinnati Medical Center affiliated with St. Luke Hospitals in northern Kentucky Sept. 29, forming greater Cincinnati's largest hospital network.
Also in Ohio, the only two hospitals in Lorain, 30 miles west of Cleveland, completed their merger Sept. 15. Lorain Community Hospital and St. Joseph Hospital and Health Center became Lorain Community/St. Joseph Regional Health Center.
The Cincinnati-area hospitals will coordinate services, share management and secure managed-care contracts through a regional integrated delivery system, according to a news release. They will maintain separate identities and medical staffs.
Christ Hospital, a tertiary facility, and community-oriented St. Luke Hospitals eventually could merge, said Jack Cook, president and chief executive officer of the new system.
St. Luke Hospital East, with 318 beds, is in Fort Thomas, Ky. St. Luke Hospital West, with 177 beds, is in Florence, Ky. Both are within nine miles of Cincinnati. Christ Hospital, which has 550 beds, and University of Cincinnati Medical Center, with 662 beds, signed a sepa- rate affiliation agreement in February.
Combined, the four campuses had 29% of the area's inpatient admissions in 1993, Mr. Cook said.
Mr. Cook said the agreements result from pressure to control costs and meet the demands of managed care. "I am sure this will spur additional activity in this market," he said.
St. Luke spokeswoman Laura Cook said the hospitals considered a deal with St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Kenton County, Ky., but declined because of possible antitrust problems.
Mr. Cook said the hospitals will continue cooperative agreements with other local providers such as Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Mercy Health System and the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor Health System.
Paul C. Balcom, chief executive officer of the new Lorain Community/St. Joseph Regional Health Center, said the Federal Trade Commission gave the northern Ohio deal a thorough review and was satisfied competition would be preserved with hospitals in other communities. The new system has about 80% of the greater Lorain market.
Mr. Balcom said the new 15-syllable moniker hasn't been popular with employees who answer the phones. "Although it's a mouthful of a name, it represents the continuity of identity from the past into the future," he said.