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Health and Medicine


Summa, Catholic Health partnership is a done deal with no bishop's blessing
Cleveland diocese spokesman Robert Tayek says Bishop Lennon has not seen details to know if his concerns have been answered
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


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M.L. Schultze
 
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In The Region:

A $250 million deal between Catholic Health Partners and Summit County’s largest health-care system as closed today, despite the initial objections of the bishop of Cleveland. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more.

LISTEN: Summa and Catholic Health merger

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Catholic Health Partners used an auxiliary called HealthSpan to actually complete the deal with Summa Health System. HealthSpan’s $250 million investment gets it a 30 percent stake in Summa, as well as positions on Summa’s nonprofit board.

The deal was originally going to be a direct one with the Cincinnati-based Catholic Health, which has some 32,000 employees and $5.6 billion in assets. But the plan hit a snag when the bishop of Cleveland, Richard Lennon, raised objections. He said Summa had not committed to the ethics for health care espoused by the U.S. Conference of Bishops, including banning birth control, abortion and sterilization. The church gives diocesan bishops the right to block partnerships and mergers of Catholic hospitals.

That’s when Catholic Health turned to HealthSpan – which is not under the bishop’s control.

Three questions answered by Summa:

What do you anticipate will happen with employment?
No changes in employment levels are expected because of the launch of this partnership.

How many seats will HealthSpan have on the Summa board?
HealthSpan Partners will select five members to sit on the Summa Health System Board of Directors.

Are there any new initiatives anticipated given the partnership?
The HealthSpan Partners investment will be used to strengthen Summa financially and better equip the system to tackle the challenges of healthcare reform.

A release announcing the deal says Summa and HealthSpan have agreed to “a statement of common values” that includes a pledge that they will not perform “direct abortions or euthanasia.” It notes that Summa performs neither today.

A spokesman for the bishop, Robert Tayek, says the diocese has not seen the details of the agreement and doesn’t know yet if it answers the bishop’s concerns.

HealthSpan is not governed by Catholic Health operated hospitals in Lorain, Lima, Toledo, warren and Youngstown. the bishop, so the deal could go through. 

 

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