- Health systems Ascension and Providence St. Joseph have ceased potential merger discussions for now, The Wall Street Journal reported.
- Last December, the Journal reported the two systems were in merger talks. The deal would have created the largest hospital operator in the country, with 191 hospitals in 27 states.
- Ascension President and CEO Anthony Tersigni recently hinted at a new structure strategy, according to a video obtained by Modern Healthcare.
That discussions were put on hold doesn't come as a surprise to those following the organization.
Tersigni signaled the organization will be focusing less on hospitals and more on telemedicine and more outpatient access points. With that in mind, it stands to reason that the 151-hospital system may not be interested in adding more hospitals to its roster.
Ascension is actively looking to divest properties where it can. The system recently signed a letter of intent to sell St. Vincent's Medical Center in Connecticut.
In February, Ascension and Presence Health signed a definitive agreement for Presence to join Ascension and become part of AMITA Health, a joint venture between Ascension’s Alexian Brothers Health System and Adventist Midwest Health.
Presence Health will add medical centers, outpatient facilities and other care sites to AMITA Health, except for Presence Life Connections, which will go under Ascension’s senior care subsidiary, Ascension Living.
The Presence Health deal emphasizes the focus toward more outpatient access points for patients.
In addition, the faith-based organization created a chief digital officer, a position yet to be announced as filled.
The Wall Street Journal stated merger discussions could continue, according to people familiar with the situation. However, if they continue, "it likely won't be soon," Melanie Evans reported.