Saint Louise signs MOU to merge with larger healthcare system

Saint Louise Regional Hospital

Saint Louise Regional Hospital announced today it has signed a memorandum of understanding to merge with Ascension Health Alliance, “the nation’s largest Catholic and nonprofit health system,” according to a press release posted on the Daughters of Charity Health System website.

Since 2011, Saint Louise has been under the umbrella of the Daughters of Charity Health System (DCHS), a regional health system with 22 sites including six hospitals along the California coast.

The new memorandum of understanding between the DCHS and Ascension Health “could lead to a definitive agreement for the Daughters of Charity Health System to become part of Ascension Health,” according to a Q&A packet provided to Saint Louise hospital staff Friday.

“Daughters of Charity Health System shares Ascension Health’s commitment to serve all with special attention to those who are poor and vulnerable,” said Anthony R. Tersigni, President and CEO of Ascension Health Alliance in the press release. “Both organizations are committed to providing quality, compassionate care to the whole person – body, mind and spirit.”

As for what kinds of changes this will bring about for Saint Louise, which serves the areas of Gilroy, Morgan Hill, San Martin and Hollister, the Dispatch is waiting to hear more details from hospital Spokeswoman Jasmine Nguyen.

The Q&A packet does state that patients at Saint Louise “will not see any immediate changes in the care they currently receive.”

As for how the merger could affect the daily work regime of Saint Louise employees – or if DCHS will have a role in the governance of Ascension Health – all of this will be revealed in the “due diligence” process expected to take place in the coming weeks and months, according to the Q&A packet.

The packet also states that the merger “strengthens Catholic health care by pairing two systems that are committed to providing person-centered quality health care to all those they serve with an emphasis on those who are poor and vulnerable.”

In other words, “bigger is better,” said Dr. George Green, a pulmonologist and critical care specialist at Saint Louise. “That’s what I think.”

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