- Catholic health systems Bon Secours and Mercy Health have announced their intent to merge.
- If finalized and approved, the merger would create a health system — the country's fifth largest Catholic system — spanning 43 hospitals across seven states in the eastern side of the U.S.
- The organizations expect the combined system would generate $8 billion in net operating revenue and $293 million in operating income.
Amid a broader trend in M&A throughout healthcare, the Catholic health system space has seen a recent uptick in activity.
Dignity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives are on track to merge into a 139-hospital system. The 12-hospital system Presence Health last week signed a definitive agreement to join Ascension and become a part of Amita Health, a joint venture between Ascension’s Alexian Brothers Health System and Adventist Midwest Health.
Ascension has also been reported to be in merger discussions with Providence St. Joseph Health, which could create a system with at least 190 hospitals if announced and approved.
Mercy is the biggest system in Ohio and Bon Secours operates in six states in the Eastern U.S.
"This merger creates future opportunity to deepen our commitment to our existing communities and expand the health ministry into complementary service areas across United States," the organizations stated. "Together, Mercy Health and Bon Secours rank in the top performing quartile of Catholic health systems for low-cost, high-quality patient care, promoting healthier lives and creating more affordable health care for residents across an expanded footprint."
However, speakers at a recent panel on consolidation noted the evidence suggests mergers are linked to poorer patient outcomes and higher costs.
"Consolidation, of course, is not the same as integration," Katherine Ho, associate professor of economics at Columbia University, said at the National Health Policy Conference earlier this month. "One hospital system buying up more hospitals doesn't necessarily lead patients to shift into one entity which generates scale."
The organizations expect to complete the merger by the end of 2018.