Merger Could Create Nation's Largest Health System

A Spokane-area medical group is in talks with St. Louis-based Ascension Health about a potential merger, according to a Wall Street Journal report from December, citing people familiar with the discussions. Providence St. Joseph Health and Ascension have been talking for months, according to the WSJ. Discussions have included a potential merger — which would create the largest owner of hospitals in the United States — in addition to other arrangements. Representatives for Ascension and Providence declined to comment on the potential deal.

If the two nonprofit hospital systems joined forces, the result would bring 191 hospitals in 27 states under a single operator, with annual revenue of $44.8 billion, according to results from the most recent fiscal year. HCA Healthcare Inc. is currently the largest operator with 177 hospitals and $41.5 billion in revenue in 2016.

Providence St. Joseph, based in Renton, Washington, operates 50 hospitals and 829 clinics in seven states, including Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children's Hospital and Holy Family Hospital in Spokane, as well as Mt. Carmel Hospital in Colville and St. Joseph's Hospital in Chewelah.

Ascension is the largest nonprofit health system in the U.S., according to its website, and the largest Catholic health system in the world. The system includes 141 hospitals in 22 states and the District of Columbia.

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About The Author

Mitch Ryals

Mitch covers cops, crime and courts for the Inlander. He moved to Spokane in 2015 from his hometown of St. Louis, and is a graduate of the University of Missouri. He likes bikes, beer and baseball. And coffee. He dislikes lemon candy, close-mindedness and liars. And temperatures below 40 degrees.