MERGERS: CHW, UniHealth Approaching Deal
San Francisco-based Catholic Healthcare West and Burbank-based UniHealth are close to agreeing on a merger that could be made final this fall, reports Modern Healthcare. The two "prominent" not-for-profit health care systems have been holding talks since December 1997, but few details of the negotiations have been made public. A merger would create a "powerhouse" system, comprised of 39 hospitals with more than 9,300 beds in "nearly every metropolitan region of the state" that would rival the state's biggest player, Tenet Healthcare Corp., which has 40 hospitals. CHW earned $3.2 billion in total revenue during its 1997 fiscal year; UniHealth brought in $1.6 billion.
Hospitals Would Blanket CA Cities
Just seven of CHW's 31 hospitals are in southern California, with only one in Los Angeles. UniHealth owns a total of eight hospitals: three are in Los Angeles and two others in neighboring Orange County, where CHW has no facilities. Peter Boland, president of Berkeley-based Boland Healthcare, said the move would be a "logical next step and a strategic imperative" for CHW. Observers believe CHW would gain the controlling interest in the venture. "Capital-starved" UniHealth has been selling off assets for several years (Shinkman, 6/1 issue).