Ascension to become owner of Presence Health

Ascension to become owner of Presence Health

CHICAGO — Ascension, a St. Louis-based Catholic health care system, is on its way to becoming the next owner of Presence Health.

Ascension announced Tuesday that it has signed a nonbinding letter of intent with Presence.

The pending deal would mean the Chicago-based, financially struggling Presence Health would join Ascension and become part of AMITA Health. AMITHA Health is a joint venture of Ascension's Alexian Brothers Health System and Adventist Midwest Health, which is part of Adventist Health System.

Through the sale, Presence would add its medical centers, outpatient facilities and other care sites to AMITA Health, with the goal of improving care and cutting costs through all the Illinois communities both systems serve, according to Ascension.

Arlington Heights-based AMITA Health operates six acute-care hospitals in Bolingbrook, Elk Grove Village, Glendale Heights, Hinsdale, Hoffman Estates and La Grange, three specialty hospitals in Hoffman Estates and a rehabilitation hospital in Elk Grove Village.

Ascension calls itself the nation's largest Catholic health care system, with services in 22 states and the District of Columbia.

All Presence health facilities would become part of AMITA Heath except for Presence Life Connections, which would join Ascension Living, according to Ascension.

Also excluded from the sale would be Presence's two downstate hospitals in Urbana and Danville, which are on track to become part of OSF HealthCare.

The Ascension announcement follows just weeks after a pending deal was announced by Presence Health and Peoria-based OSF HealthCare for OSF to acquire Presence Covenant and Presence United Samaritans medical centers early next year, pending regulatory and Catholic church approval.

"As previously announced, Presence Covenant Medical Center and Presence United Samaritans Medical Center will be joining OSF HealthCare," said Presence spokeswoman Erin Mitchell. "The letter of intent between Presence Health and Ascension and AMITA Health does not affect this sale."

The Presence-Ascension letter of intent is expected to lead to a final agreement, pending the completion of due diligence and regulatory and Catholic church approval, according to Ascension.

"The mission, values and history of Presence Health clearly align well with those of Ascension, as both systems are dedicated to caring for all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable," said Anthony Tersigni, president and CEO of Ascension. "We believe this will strengthen Catholic health care not only in the region but throughout the country as we are all dedicated to delivering personalized, compassionate care."

Presence Health was created by the merger of Provena Health and Resurrection Health Care in 2011.

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