- Mission Health announced this week it has signed a letter of intent to join HCA Healthcare, citing "the inevitability of consolidation" as the healthcare sector continues to move in that direction. Mission said its board of directors unanimously voted in favor of the letter.
- The North Carolina-based Mission Health is the sixth-largest health system in the state, with six hospitals, 12,000 staff and 2,000 volunteers. HCA is one of the largest health systems in the country, with 1,800 outpatient facilities, 179 hospitals and other facilities across 20 states and the United Kingdom.
- The deal, which is still in the preliminary stages, must overcome regulatory approval. Despite the rapid consolidation of health systems, it can remain a challenge to complete a merger, evidenced by Atrium Health and UNC Health’s planned merger being put on ice.
In an FAQ, Mission said that while some jobs will be eliminated over time, it does not “anticipate significant changes” from what would occur if it did not join with HCA. Mission pointed to new jobs for clinical staff being created by the potential merger as one area of potential growth.
“I don’t know if in this case Mission looked to the future and saw that it wasn't going to be operate at that level of surplus cash flow. I don’t know why you would sell, if you were doing well and thinking you would continue to do well," Jay Hardcastle, a partner who leads the Healthcare Practice Group at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, told Healthcare Dive.
But Mission said that it is trying to “act from a position of strength” to choose who to merge with. “Given the inevitability of consolidation, we wanted it to be our choice long before we are forced to make one,” Mission wrote in the FAQ.
The deal still must still undergo the negotiation of a definitive agreement and regulatory approval. Hardcastle says that if the two company’s markets do not substantially overlap “there won’t be any antitrust concerns at all.” John Garrett, Mission board vice chair, said HCA does not currently operate in North Carolina.