Cal­i­for­nia green­lights CHI-Dig­nity merger, with char­ity care con­di­tions

Modern Healthcare - - Late News - —Tara Ban­now

The Cal­i­for­nia Jus­tice Depart­ment gave its con­di­tional ap­proval Nov. 21 to the union of Dig­nity Health and Catholic Health Ini­tia­tives, mark­ing an im­por­tant—but not fi­nal—step to­ward fi­nal­iz­ing the merger.

The depart­ment’s green light fol­lows a rig­or­ous re­view process that will re­sult in new char­ity and in­di­gent care re­quire­ments. The com­bined en­tity, which will be called Com­monSpirit Health, has al­ready re­ceived ap­proval from the Fed­eral Trade Com­mis­sion and the Catholic Church, and is on track to close by Dec. 31, cre­at­ing a not-for-profit health sys­tem with 140 hos­pi­tals and more than 700 care sites across 21 states, in­clud­ing 30 hos­pi­tals in Cal­i­for­nia.

Com­monSpirit Health must main­tain emer­gency ser­vices and women’s health­care ser­vices for 10 years af­ter the deal closes, un­der Cal­i­for­nia’s con­di­tions.

The con­di­tions also re­quire Dig­nity, CHI and Com­monSpirit to cre­ate a so­called Home­less Health Ini­tia­tive in Cal­i­for­nia to sup­port hos­pi­tal­ized in­di­vid­u­als ex­pe­ri­enc­ing home­less­ness and co-lo­cate, co­or­di­nate and in­te­grate med­i­cal, be­hav­ioral health, safety and well­ness ser­vices with hous­ing and other so­cial ser­vices across the 30 ar­eas served by Dig­nity hos­pi­tals in Cal­i­for­nia. The or­ga­ni­za­tions will need to al­lo­cate $20 mil­lion over six fis­cal years to im­ple­ment the pro­gram in part­ner­ship with lo­cal gov­ern­ments and not-for­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Be­gin­ning in 2019, all of the for­mer Dig­nity hos­pi­tals in Cal­i­for­nia that are part of Com­monSpirit will be re­quired to of­fer a 100% dis­count to pa­tients earn­ing up to 250% of the fed­eral poverty level.

Dig­nity hos­pi­tals will also need to en­gage with af­fil­i­ated or­ga­ni­za­tions, com­mu­nity clin­ics, health­care providers, houses of wor­ship and other com­mu­nity-based or­ga­ni­za­tions on the avail­abil­ity of fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance at each Cal­i­for­nia hos­pi­tal.

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