St. Joseph Medical Center parent company IASIS is purportedly closing in on a merger with Steward Health Care which will include every hospital in the system, including SJMC’s operation in the Heights. IASIS and Steward first announced the definitive agreement to merge their operations in May of this year, making Steward the largest private for-profit hospital operator in the United States with 36 hospitals across 10 states.
“Our physician-driven accountable care model focused on keeping patients healthy is transforming the health care industry as this transaction demonstrates,” said Dr. Ralph de la Torre, Chairman and CEO of Steward Health Care, in a May release. “Our model shows how the industry can successfully shift toward a more cost-effective local, coordinated approach that puts patients first.”
According to a May release, the merger was expected to close in the third calendar quarter of 2017, subject to customary regulatory approvals, terms and conditions. Terms of the transaction have not yet been disclosed.
St. Joseph’s has been a constant focus of questions since the closing of the old Heights Select Specialty Hospital in 2015. St. Joseph’s uses three floors of the building formerly occupied by the Heights Hospital.
However, SJMCH Administrative Director Jeff Bielik has reiterated multiple times that St. Joseph’s (serving the Heights since 2012) has not been in the market for a move out of the neighborhood.
“We’ve provided care for thousands of Heights area residents and plan on serving thousands more in the years ahead,” he said in July 2015.
St. Joseph’s name, operations and location off 19th Street (purportedly) will not change once the merger is final, which could possibly happen as early as next week, according to some familiar with the merger.
“The company is just buying up more hospitals, so as far as we know nothing much will change,” said one source, who couldn’t be identified because the purchase is not complete. “There’s going to be that growing pains time where there might be some new processes, but services are expected to go on and leadership is expected to remain the same. It’s just hard to say anything since it’s not finalized.”
Rumors regarding the date of the sale had emerged over the last few weeks.
“The dotted line and everything else has not been officially settled on, but it should happen here in the next two to three weeks,” the source said.
A Steward spokesperson could neither confirm nor deny any concrete date for the merger becoming final.