Founded in 1908, St. Mary's is sponsored by the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, Calif., who must approve a possible sale along with the CHW board of directors, if the sale proceeds, the statement said. A deal could be closed by early 2012, it said.
“For several months, CHW has been working to identify a potential partner to help St. Mary's preserve and strengthen healthcare services in the region,” according to a statement attributed to Rod Davis, senior vice president for operations at Catholic Healthcare West in Nevada. “Through the process, CHW and the Dominican Sisters' priority has been to identify a partner that would reflect our commitment to the ongoing operation of St. Mary's and the mission of providing a quality hospital choice to consumers and physicians in the Reno community. We believe Community Health Systems can provide the right resources to further strengthen St. Mary's and advance the hospital's commitment to serving this community with high-quality health care.”
Community Health Systems is a for-profit corporation that owns, operates or leases 132 hospitals in 29 states. It reported net income of not quite $280 million on revenue of more than $12.9 billion in 2010. San Francisco-based CHW, which, including St. Mary's, operates 40 hospitals in California, Nevada and Arizona, reported a net income of $917 million on revenues of nearly $10.6 billion for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011.
According to the 2010 Census, Reno's population grew nearly 25% in a decade to just more than 225,000, but the banking and home mortgage market collapse in 2008 has stressed much of the state, most particularly in its population center, the Clark County/Las Vegas metro area.
Reno, whose economy is less dependent on casino gambling than that of Las Vegas, is slightly better off, but is not immune, according to Joseph Greenway, director of the Center for Health Information Analysis at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, which gathers financial data on all hospitals in the state.
For the first two quarters of 2011, St. Mary's reported net losses of almost $19.9 million on about $130.9 million in total operating revenue, according to the center. In comparison, for the first quarter of 2011, Renown's two hospitals reported a combined net income of $290,823 on total operating revenues of $125.8 million.
“The economy is worse here, way worse, than the rest of the country,” with real unemployment rates running around 17% to 18%, Greenway said. “You have a lot of people who don't have any insurance and can't pay their bills.”