Three Roman Catholic orders that already work together on a regional level are merging their healthcare operations to create a new national system with 31 hospitals, MODERN HEALTHCARE has learned.
The new system, to be called Marian Health System, will have its headquarters in Tulsa, Okla., and will comprise four regional healthcare networks operating in six states.
Those four systems are Ministry Health Care, Milwaukee; St. John Health System, Tulsa; Via Caritas Health System, Denville, N.J.; and Via Christi Health System, Wichita, Kan.
Marian, whose creation was scheduled to be announced this past weekend, is being touted as the fourth-largest Catholic hospital system in the U.S.
It will be jointly sponsored by Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, Convent Station, N.J.; Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, Broken Arrow, Okla.; and Sisters of St. Joseph of Wichita.
Marian's new president and chief executive officer is Sister M. Therese Gottschalk, part of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother congregation.
Marian's new 15-member board was scheduled to give its final OK to the merger June 6 by approving bylaws at a meeting in New Orleans.
Marian officials are scheduled to be in New Orleans for the Catholic Health Association's annual meeting, which runs through June 10.
Based in St. Louis, the CHA has more than 1,200 members, including freestanding hospitals, sponsors and systems.
The merger would elevate to a national level regional partnerships that Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother already have with the other two congregations.
Until the creation of Marian, the healthcare operations of Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother had operated under the umbrella of SSM-US Health System.
"It's pooling our resources," Gottschalk said.
She said Marian doesn't plan to file for antitrust clearance because it was already granted when Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother formed a regional partnership with the two other congregations.
Marian will have total revenues of $2 billion and total assets worth almost $3 billion, Gottschalk said.
Besides the 31 hospitals, the system will include 128 outpatient-care facilities, 15 nursing homes and five continuing-care retirement communities.
While a national system is being created, the four regional operations will remain intact, along with their local management and boards, Gottschalk said.
Besides creating some costs savings, Gottschalk said one likelihood of the merger will be the refinancing of $800 million in debt that the four regional operations bring to the system.
Assembling a national system also will help the congregations compensate for the dwindling number of nuns in their ranks.