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Sisters of Charity Health System & University Hospitals Announce New Agreement for Jointly Owned Hospitals
Date:3/3/2009

CLEVELAND, March 3 /PRNewswire/ -- The Sisters of Charity Health System (SCHS) and University Hospitals (UH) have jointly announced a non-binding letter of intent to modify their existing 50/50 not-for-profit ownership structures of St. Vincent Charity Hospital in Cleveland and Mercy Medical Center in Canton. An equal 50/50 joint venture between SCHS and UH will remain at St. John West Shore Hospital with the addition of UH assuming operations through a new management agreement.

According to the letter of intent, the Sisters of Charity Health System will obtain complete (100 percent) ownership and governance of St. Vincent Charity Hospital and Mercy Medical Center. All three hospitals will retain their Catholic mission, identity and faith obligations as they serve the ongoing health care needs of their communities.

The Sisters of Charity Health System and University Hospitals will make equal investments totaling $100 million for St. John West Shore Hospital. Both members also will jointly invest $30 million combined in St. Vincent Charity Hospital to create a fundraising foundation to support the hospital to better serve the community.

"This agreement will enable University Hospitals to better serve the entire St. John West Shore community," said Thomas F. Zenty, CEO of University Hospitals. "The $100 million in new strategic investments is a clear commitment by both members to making St. John West Shore a destination hospital on the West Side. We will work closely with community leaders, physicians, clinicians, employees and volunteers to make this vision a reality.

"Meeting the community's health care needs has been an unwavering commitment of University Hospitals since our founding in 1866," continued Zenty. "In addition, we have a deep and abiding respect for the Sisters of Charity Health System, and believe this new agreement will better serve the health care needs of Northeast Ohio."

"Under the Sisters of Charity Health System leadership, St. Vincent Charity will continue in Northeast Ohio its state-of-the-art care in orthopedics; the nationally renowned Joslin Diabetes Center; its leadership position in bariatric surgery; its one of only two in the state psychiatric emergency department; and its newly renovated full-service emergency department," said Sister Judith Ann Karam, CSA, president & CEO of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

"At the forefront of this decision was how we could best serve the health care needs of these three communities - Canton, Cleveland and Westlake," said Karam. "We have a long history of providing quality health care in Greater Cleveland and have developed strong areas of specialized care at St. Vincent Charity and St. John West Shore. In Canton we have built an outstanding hospital with exceptional services and medical expertise. Our decisions on this new agreement were based on community needs and recognition that greater effectiveness in operations, critical to the success of the hospital ministries of the Sisters of Charity Health System since 1851, will be needed in today's environment."

The Sisters of Charity Health System will continue its 100-year commitment to the Greater Canton community through its return to sole stewardship of Mercy Medical Center. This hospital continues to combine the best of compassionate care with high-tech innovation. Currently, the hospital has plans for capital projects in excess of $100 million to continue its excellence in medical services. Mercy has long been a leader in emergency services and medicine, cardiovascular care, cancer care, orthopedics and rehabilitation, and has recently added innovative robotic laparoscopic surgical equipment to its full complement of modern heath care services.

"In addition to Mercy's many contributions to the community through its outreach and service, we are proud of the many accomplishments of our sponsored ministries in Stark County, including the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton, Early Childhood Resource Center and Mercy Medical Center," Karam said. "The Sisters of Charity Health System continues to be committed to Stark County as evidenced by the $34.6 million we have invested through our Foundation ministry since its inception.

"Given the economic and market realities of today and evolving technology, the decision to implement this new agreement reflects how health care and the delivery system is changing," Karam explained. "This new agreement will enable the Sisters of Charity Health System to more fully integrate our four wholly owned hospitals: two hospitals in Ohio and two hospitals in South Carolina, including Providence Hospital, South Carolina's leading cardiovascular center. Also, we will be able to continue our long-standing involvement in the delivery of health care to the people in the western suburbs of Cleveland through our relationship with University Hospitals at St. John West Shore.

"We are pleased to continue Catholic health care to the Greater Cleveland and Canton communities, continuing our 158-year legacy of healing individuals, families and communities," said Karam.

While this non-binding letter of intent has been approved by the boards of both health systems, approval of the transaction is subject to preparation of final legal documents, which will occur over the next several months.

About the Sisters of Charity Health System

The Sisters of Charity Health System was established in 1982 as the parent corporation for the sponsored ministries of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine in Ohio and South Carolina. In 1999, Sisters of Charity Health System formed two Ohio not-for-profit corporations with University Hospitals to equally own and operate St. John West Shore Hospital, St. Vincent Charity Hospital, Mercy Medical Center, Cuyahoga Physician Network, and West Shore Primary Care. Through this equal ownership, the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine continue their legacy of high quality, compassionate care that began at the time of the founding of these organizations.

The Sisters of Charity Health System is the sole sponsor of Sisters of Charity Providence Hospitals, a leading cardiovascular center in South Carolina, which includes Providence Hospital/Providence Heart Institute and Providence Hospital Northeast in Columbia, South Carolina. The organization also oversees three grant making foundations located in Cleveland and Canton, OH and Columbia, SC. Each foundation sponsors significant community initiatives and collaborations that address causes and consequences of poverty.

Other health and human services and education-related organizations within the Sisters of Charity Health System include Cleveland's Joseph's Home, a unique residential care center for homeless men, Canton's early Childhood Resource Center for people working in childcare in all settings; and Healthy Learners, a South Carolina health care resource for children from low-income families. The Sisters of Charity Health System also provides residential eldercare services at Regina Health Center in Richfield, Ohio and Light of Hearts Villa in Bedford, Ohio. Light of Hearts Villa is jointly sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.

For more information on the Sisters of Charity Health System or its individual health care and outreach ministries, visit sistersofcharityhealth.org .

About University Hospitals

With 150 locations throughout Northeast Ohio, University Hospitals serves the needs of patients through an integrated network of hospitals, outpatient centers and primary care physicians. At the core of our Health System is University Hospitals Case Medical Center. The primary affiliate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, University Hospitals Case Medical Center is home to some of the most prestigious clinical and research centers of excellence in the nation and the world, including cancer, pediatrics, women's health, orthopedics and spine, radiology and radiation oncology, neurosurgery and neuroscience, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery, organ transplantation and human genetics. Its main campus includes the internationally celebrated Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, ranked among the top hospitals in the nation; MacDonald Women's Hospital, Ohio's only hospital for women; and Ireland Cancer Center, which holds the nation's highest designation by the National Cancer Institute of Comprehensive Cancer Center. For more information, go to www.uhhospitals.org

St. Vincent Charity Hospital in Cleveland and Mercy Medical Center in Canton will return to sole ownership by Sisters of Charity Health System.

SCHS and UH will jointly invest $30 million in St. Vincent Charity Hospital.

UH and SCHS retain their existing 50/50 ownership in St. John West Shore, with UH managing operations.

UH and Sisters of Charity plan $100 million in strategic investments to St. John West Shore Hospital.

All three Hospitals will retain their Catholic identity and mission.


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SOURCE Sisters of Charity Health System
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