Mercy Health System of Maine and Steward Health Care System Sign Letter of Intent
“A Transformative Moment” in Health Care for Maine
Portland, Maine, August 20, 2012 – The Board of Directors of Mercy Health System of Maine (Mercy) has voted to enter into a non-binding Letter of Intent (LOI) with Steward Health Care System LLC (Steward). The LOI is the first step in the process of establishing a final binding asset purchase agreement (APA). The transaction is subject to regulatory and canonical approvals.
According to Mercy President and Chief Executive Officer Eileen F. Skinner, “Compassionate, high quality and affordable care has been the hallmark of Mercy for 94 years. The Mercy Board of Directors has taken a bold and transformative step which benefits the Portland community now and into the future. Steward’s commitment to our employees, patients, medical staff, mission, and vision of community-focused care, made them Mercy’s first choice for partnership.”
Steward, a health care system composed of 10 community hospitals and 2,700 physicians in Massachusetts, currently operates six Catholic hospitals. Over the past two years, Steward has committed nearly $600 million in capital investments in their hospitals in Massachusetts; as part of the Mercy transaction, Steward will be making a significant investment in Mercy facilities and programs. Mercy’s intention is to remain a Catholic hospital and continue the mission of the Sisters of Mercy; the transaction will include a Stewardship Agreement with the Sisters of Mercy Northeast Community and the Bishop of the Diocese of Portland to continue to oversee Mercy’s commitment to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care. Steward will commit to maintaining Mercy’s community benefits and charitable care. In addition, Steward is a taxable entity and, as a part of Steward, Mercy would pay applicable state and local taxes, including property tax, in the communities it serves. Steward intends to retain the current management team and employees.
“Mercy Health System of Maine is a high quality, cost-effective provider with dedicated employees and a talented medical staff,” said Mark Rich, executive vice president for Steward. “They share our mission to provide world-class care in the community; Mercy’s services and programs are perfectly aligned with all that Steward values.”
Over the course of the last decade, Mercy has expanded its primary care and specialty practices and completed Phase I of a new health care campus at Fore River. This was accomplished with the generous support of Catholic Health East (CHE) and private donors. In recent years, as the health care climate and reimbursements have changed, the Mercy Board of Directors has been exploring strategies to further strengthen and expand the organization’s capacity to provide quality, affordable, health care choices for the communities it serves.
“The decision to seek a new partner for Mercy was actively supported by Catholic Health East as part of our strategic planning process,” said Judy Persichilli, CHE’s president and chief executive officer. “Several alternatives were explored, and we feel that Steward is the best fit to help Mercy achieve its mission goals, preserve its Catholic legacy, and continue to provide quality, cost-effective care for residents of the greater Portland area. We have valued greatly our affiliation with Mercy Health System of Maine, and we are confident the proposed transition will be positive for both patients and staff.”
A number of federal and state regulatory steps must be undertaken before the proposed affiliation can be finalized. Patients of Mercy (and/or anyone utilizing Mercy services or programs) will not be impacted in any way by the regulatory process or the transition. “We will continue to provide excellent care with the patient at the center of all that we do,” stated Skinner.
About Steward Health Care
Steward Health Care, a leader in accountable care, is the largest fully integrated community care organization and community hospital network in New England. Headquartered in Boston, Steward is the third largest employer in Massachusetts with more than 17,000 employees serving more than one million patients annually in 85 communities. Hospitals in the system include Saint Anne’s Hospital in Fall River, Holy Family Hospital in Methuen, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton, Norwood Hospital in Norwood, Carney Hospital in Dorchester, Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton, Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer, Merrimack Valley Hospital in Haverhill, Morton Hospital in Taunton and Quincy Medical Center in Quincy. Other Steward Health Care entities include Steward Medical Group and Steward Home Care. Two charitable organizations, Laboure College and Por Cristo, are also affiliated with Steward. Further information is available at www.steward.org.
About Mercy Health System of Maine
Mercy Health System of Maine includes Mercy Hospital, Gary’s House, McAuley Residence, Mercy Recovery Center, and VNA Home Health & Hospice. Mercy Health System provides a broad range of medical and surgical services, as well as primary and specialty care. It is a continuum of care provider for patients in southern Maine. A not-for-profit organization, Mercy is sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Northeast Community. Mercy is a member of Catholic Health East, a multi-institutional Catholic health system serving communities through regional healthcare systems in 11 eastern states from Maine to Florida. More information on Mercy is available at www.mercyhospital.org or call (toll free) 855-MERCYME.
About Catholic Health East
Catholic Health East (CHE) is a multi-institutional Catholic health system, co-sponsored by eight religious congregations and Hope Ministries, a Public Juridic Person within Catholic Health East. Based in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, the System provides the means to ensure the continuation of the Catholic identity and operational strength of the sponsors’ health ministries, which are located in 11 eastern states from Maine to Florida. The System includes 35 acute care hospitals, four long-term acute care hospitals, 26 freestanding and hospital-based long-term care facilities, 12 assisted-living facilities, four continuing care retirement communities, eight behavioral health and rehabilitation facilities, 31 home health/hospice agencies and numerous ambulatory and community-based health services. Catholic Health East facilities employ more than 55,000 full-time employees as partners in ministry. Catholic Health East is the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of programs.