Ascension Health and Providence St. Joseph Health are in talks about a merger between the two Catholic non-profits that would create the largest US hospital chain, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the discussions.
Sources say Providence St. Joseph Health is exploring a merger with Ascension Health that would create a US hospital network of unprecedented size. The merger would result in the formation of a large and diverse Catholic health system.
Another person, however, said that it did not appear that any deal was imminent. One person, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the talks have included discussion about moving the joint headquarters to Chicago as part of the deal.
A Providence spokeswoman declined to comment. Providence Health and Services had previously had 34 hospitals before its merger with St. Joseph's Health with its 16 hospitals. A telephone message left with a spokesman for Ascension was not immediately returned. The joint organization would account for 191 hospitals in more than half of the states, surpassing the 177 hospitals of HCA Healthcare. But if it should come to pass, it will change the health care landscape. Industry analysts are of the view that Providence is determined to expand its hospital network beyond the West Coast, where the firm already handles the healthcare activities of almost fifty hospitals in the region. The two have some overlap in Texas and also in Washington, where Ascension controls Pasco-based Lourdes Health Network.