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CHI, PeaceHealth suspend merger talks; Harrison not affected

Catholic Health Initiatives, the parent company of Franciscan Health System, suspended its discussions with PeaceHealth last week regarding a merger that would have created an integrated regional health system in the Pacific Northwest.

The two health systems signed a nonbinding agreement last August to create a partnership; however, the two faith-based health care systems were unable to develop an integrated model that would provide the desired benefits and serve the best interests of both organizations, according to an announcement.

Catholic Health Initiatives operates 78 hospitals in 17 states, along with many other health care facilities and services. PeaceHealth has various services in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. CHI and PeaceHealth officials said the two entities will remain actively engaged in exploring other opportunities to work together to strengthen their respective ministries in the Pacific Northwest.

The suspension of merger discussions does not affect the ongoing talks between Harrison Medical Center and Franciscan Health System regarding an affiliation. Harrison CEO Scott Bosch said those talks are proceeding well, with the two organizations working through various outstanding issues.

“We think it will not have an impact at all. Our discussions all along were with Franciscan and Catholic Health Initiatives,” he said. “The proposed company would have been in three different states and would have extended our reach. However, the system we’re establishing will focus in the Puget Sound area and on serving the local community.”

Bosch said the two organization have “the essence of a deal” and the intent is to have an agreement in place within a couple months. Both boards of directors will have to sign off on the agreement, which will also require approval by the Federal Trade Commission and the archbishop of Seattle.

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