Mercy Health Will Merge with Bon Secours Health System by End of Year


Photo by Bryan Rubin, Photo Editor

Oberlin’s Mercy Allen Hospital, a Mercy Health affiliate, will be merging with the second largest hospital network in Ohio: Bon Secours.

Mercy Health, the hospital network that operates the Mercy Allen Hospital in Oberlin, is merging with the Bon Secours Health System in a move that would create the fifth-largest Catholic health system in the country. While details such as the leadership and name of the new network are still being negotiated, the merger will be finalized by the end of the year.

Maureen Richmond, Senior Director of Integrated Communications for Mercy Allen Hospital, said that the company does not expect the merger to impact local facilities.

“The proposed merger creates future opportunities to deepen our commitment to our existing communities,” Richmond said.

The CEO and President of Mercy Health, John M. Starcher, Jr., said in a statement released last week that “[the new health group] will continue to serve as the low-cost, high-value provider” in the coverage areas it currently serves.

Mercy Allen Hospital in Oberlin is unique because of its coverage area, which means it has been designated a Critical Access Hospital by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and therefore receives some fiscal benefits from the federal government due to its rural location. When asked if the merger could impact this designation, Richmond reiterated that they don’t expect the merger to impact the local hospital.

The two companies released a joint statement.

“[The merger] allows us to advance our shared ministry and reinvest in community benefit [and that] further alignment of the ministries offers an opportunity within the United States and outside of its borders to bring healing and hope to those most in need,” it stated.

Hospital mergers have been increasingly common nationally, with 115 mergers in 2017 — the highest amount since tracking started in 2000.

Craig Brammer, CEO of health education nonprofit The Healthcare Collaborative, noted, “Across the United States … health systems are aggregating for business reasons for economies of scale and more clout in contract negotiations.”

The proposed merger would increase Mercy’s scale, as Bon Secours provides health services in Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, Florida, South Carolina, and New York.

When added to the hospitals and other care sites that Mercy Health currently operates throughout Ohio and Kentucky, the new company will operate over 43 hospitals and bring in over $8 billion in net operating revenue. The companies will be working together over the coming months to finalize the merger agreement and gain governmental approval.