Two Catholic healthcare systems that operate hospitals in the Cincinnati market have been discussing a possible merger, it was disclosed last week.
Albany, N.Y.-based Franciscan Health Partnership and Cincinnati-based Catholic Healthcare Partners agreed last month to enter exclusive negotiations for 90 days to determine "if a closer working relationship between the two systems is advantageous," officials said.
"The agreement is to determine if a closer relationship works for us," said Greg Smith, a spokesman for Catholic Health Partners.
"We're looking at ways to work together to enhance our long-term ability to fulfill our shared Catholic healing mission . . . and collaborate in markets that are common to both of us, such as the Cincinnati area. Both systems share the same philosophy in terms of how we would enhance the church's healing ministry and increase access to healthcare to the poor and underserved."
But he added that it was too soon to tell if a definite agreement would occur.
"We don't want to speculate anything now," Smith said.
Catholic Healthcare Partners operates in six states with 23 hospitals and 15 long-term-care facilities and housing developments for the elderly. It has four hospitals in the Cincinnati region.
The Franciscan Health Partnership operates 11 acute-care hospitals, seven long-term-care facilities, six continuing-care facilities, six home health agencies and five community service centers with total assets of about $1.1 billion. It has three hospitals in the region.