Summa Health System can still prescribe contraceptives and offer vasectomies after Catholic Health Partners becomes its minority owner.
But under a “Statement of Common Values” with the Catholic hospital system, Summa can’t perform direct abortions or withhold a feeding tube to hasten death.
Summa must improve in several key operational areas and meet financial goals or hire an executive-level “chief implementation officer” selected by Catholic Health Partners.
And a majority of Catholic Health Partners’ five appointees to Summa’s 16-member board of directors will need to approve any decisions to sell off the health system’s assets or to hire a new chief executive officer if the current leader, Thomas J. Strauss, leaves the organization.
These are among the new details about the partnership deal between Cincinnati-based Catholic Health Partners and Summa included in the 38-page definitive agreement and other supporting documents between the two organizations.
The definitive agreement and other filings were released Thursday by the Ohio Department of Insurance at the request of the Akron Beacon Journal.
The documents were filed with the Ohio Department of Insurance for review because Summa Health System is the parent company of SummaCare insurance.
The state regulatory body for the insurance industry still is completing a review of the proposed deal to determine whether it should be approved, according to a department spokesman.
Summa is expected to announce more details in the coming weeks about its partnership with Catholic Health Partners (CHP), the state’s largest hospital system with 24 hospitals in Ohio and Kentucky and $5.6 billion in assets.
“We remain very excited about our relationship with Catholic Health Partners, and I can confirm that we have reached an agreement in principle with CHP,” Summa spokesman Mike Bernstein said. “However, the agreement is not final, pending approval from ODI and Bishop (Richard) Lennon [of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland.] We look forward to sharing additional information once all terms become final.”
Both organizations declined to discuss details until the transaction is complete.
“We see tremendous opportunity in the potential for working with Summa and the team of professionals there,” CHP spokeswoman Liz Vogel said. “We’re eager to have more definitive news to share in the future.”
Summa is Summit County’s largest employer, with more than 11,000 workers if partially owned and affiliated ventures are included. It includes Akron City, St. Thomas, Barberton and Wadsworth-Rittman hospitals, SummaCare insurance, physician practices and partial ownership of Western Reserve Hospital and Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center.
Summa to get $250 million
Under the definitive agreement, CHP is giving Summa $250 million in cash in exchange for a 30 percent ownership stake in the Akron-area health system. (Previous public documents indicated CHP would obtain a 32 percent ownership stake.)
The partnership gives Summa access to cash — something Summa leaders have said is needed as federal programs and private insurers shift from a system that pays hospitals for procedures, treatments and inpatient stays to a new system that provides incentives to keep people healthy.
The agreement details the creation of a new entity, called Community Member, through which CHP will acquire its minority stake in Summa.
CHP is loaning Summa an executive for the integration, according to the terms of the deal. An Operations Council composed of representatives from both organizations will oversee plans to improve Summa’s billing, supply costs, labor productivity and average length of stay for inpatients.
Under the deal, Summa will report whether it is meeting targets for those areas as well as for operating margin, debt levels and days cash on hand — all measures of financial health.
If goals aren’t achieved, the agreement calls for various levels of intervention, ranging from reports to the CEOs to hiring a Chief Implementation Officer selected by CHP and reporting directly to the Summa board.
The deal specifies that Summa won’t be required to adhere to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care, the doctrine followed by all Catholic-sponsored hospitals.
CHP can’t ban Summa facilities from providing tubal ligations, vasectomies and prescriptions for contraceptive drugs and devices — all services in conflict with the Catholic church. However, the definitive agreement states “no portion of the CHP investment will be used to support any procedures or activities of Summa operated facilities that conflict with the Catholic ERDs, nor will CHP provide management services or support for, or otherwise be connected to, or financially benefit from, such procedures.” Information was not immediately available about Summa’s current practices in these medical areas.
No direct abortions
The agreement prohibits Summa facilities from offering “direct abortions” or physician-assisted suicides, “which Catholic moral teachings consider to be gravely immoral acts,” according to the document.
The organizations also agree to follow a “Statement of Common Values,” which include, among other things, providing compassionate, high-quality care; meeting the health-care needs of all patients; valuing diversity; promoting an ethical culture; serving those in need; and promoting “the sanctity of all human life.”
The statement indicates the organizations won’t “deliberately hasten or cause death either by withholding treatments that are reasonably beneficial and not excessively burdensome or by depriving a patient of basic human care in the form of nourishment or hydration.”
An informed patient’s decision “to refrain from excessively burdensome or futile means will be respected, even when such a decision may hasten the person’s death,” the statement indicates. “With a proportionate reason and proper consent, medicines capable of relieving pain and suffering may be administered to a person even if such therapy may indirectly cause the loss of consciousness or shorten the person’s life.”
The deal includes an opt-out clause, which allows either party to request Summa buy out CHP’s ownership stake, at the end of its 10 years.
Cheryl Powell can be reached at 330-996-3902 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Powell on Twitter at twitter.com/abjcherylpowell.