Last summer, St. Joseph Health System and Providence Health & Services signed a letter of intent to merge the Catholic non-profits, to be run by Providence CEO Rod Hochman. The new Providence St. Joseph Health would incorporate 50 hospitals in multiple states, the majority of them in Oregon and Washington.
There is concern coming from the National Nurses Union with fears that jobs may be threatened by this merger. Malinda Markowitz, vice president of the NNU said, “This merger must ensure that all the hospitals remain open, that all jobs and services are maintained—and that the new organization is held accountable for providing charity care and community benefits to the communities it serves.”
Current Oregon Statute 65.803 1 (a) and (b) outlines that mergers of this sort are to be reviewed by the Attorney General. However, Providence and St. Joseph have made an official request for a waiver of this process, due to the exception that both are non-profit groups.
In December, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum stated in a letter that she was going to “consider granting a waiver of the approval requirements.” In response, the NNU has proposed a refutation to Rosenblum with their aforementioned concerns. One of their main contentions included fear about the reduction in abortion and physician-assisted suicide services.
St. Joseph Health President and CEO Deborah Proctor stated, “We are two mission-focused organizations which truly have the potential of being better together, delivering outstanding clinical care and providing a compassionate presence in all the communities we serve.” Part of their shared mission includes religious and ethical restraints on abortion and physician-assisted suicide.
The merger would extend them across eight states, creating one of the largest Catholic healthcare providers in the United States. “Providence and St. Joseph Health’s missions are aligned to improve the quality of care, increase access and make care more affordable for everyone,” stated Hochman.