The nation's two largest Roman Catholic healthcare systems, Catholic Health Initiatives and Daughters of Charity National Health System, are considering collaborating on several initiatives, but they say the moves aren't a prelude to a merger.
As a first step, the systems announced the formation of a jointly owned limited liability corporation to provide auditing services.
Another venture being discussed is an organization for Catholic leadership development, said Patricia Cahill, CHI president and chief executive officer. Besides CHI and Daughters of Charity, several other Catholic organizations are taking part in those discussions, Cahill said.
They include Carondolet Health System, St. Louis; St. Joseph Health System, Orange, Calif.; Incarnate Word Health Services, San Antonio and Houston; and Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, Milwaukee.
Cahill declined to elaborate on talks between CHI and Daughters of Charity but she said a merger was not in the works.
Denver-based CHI operated 60 hospitals and posted operating income of $78 million on net patient revenues of $3.5 billion in 1996. It was formed last April by the merger of three smaller Catholic systems.
St. Louis-based Daughters of Charity operated 40 hospitals and earned net operating income of $212 million on net patient revenues of $3.6 billion in 1996.
Their new for-profit audit company is called the Catholic Healthcare Audit Network. It will be headed by David LeMoine, a Daughters of Charity senior vice president. An expansion of current Daughters services, the company will conduct due-diligence reviews and operational, financial, compliance and information system audits.
Cahill called the audit company "a wonderful beginning." Lawrence Prybil, senior vice president for system direction and policy at Daughters of Charity, said he hoped the network would be a prelude to further involvement between the two systems.