Ascension Health, St. Louis, and Caritas Christi Health Care, Boston, called off talks regarding Ascension’s acquisition of six-hospital Caritas Christi.
The Archdiocese of Boston, which owns Caritas Christi, and Ascension, the largest U.S. Catholic health system, announced talks in February. “While we hoped to reach a definitive agreement, regrettably, after months of good faith efforts, we have collectively determined that is not possible and we have agreed not to pursue an affiliation,” the two systems said in a jointly released statement.
Trudy Barthels, an Ascension spokeswoman, declined to comment on why talks failed. Terrence Donilon, a spokesman for the archdiocese, also declined to comment, citing a confidentiality agreement.
The archdiocese said in a news release that church officials “remain open to exploring an appropriate and mutually agreeable affiliation” and will resume a search to replace Caritas Christi’s former chief executive officer, Robert Haddad, who resigned in May 2006 after the system’s board recommended he be fired after employees’ allegations of sexual harassment.
Financially struggling Caritas Christi posted its first operating profit in seven years in 2005, according to ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service. State subsidies for 186-bed Caritas Carney Hospital, Dorchester, Mass., aided in the financial rebound, which continued into 2006. Caritas Christi reported operating income of $27.7 million on revenue of $1.22 billion for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2006. The system is expected to finish 2007 in the black, the archdiocese said in the release. -- by Melanie Evans