This week, Ascension Health acquired Presence Health, combining the largest Catholic-sponsored healthcare system in Illinois with the nation’s largest Catholic health system, the companies announced Tuesday. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals. The deal underscores a continued trend towards market consolidation. 

 

It seems Ascension, at 141 hospitals, acquiring an 11 hospital system with a pretty localized presence (no pun intended) may not be a huge deal. Both are Catholic and share the mission of personalized, compassionate care. However, Ascension is massive and the challenges of a predominantly urban hospital coming off a major financial crisis are significant. We looked at Presence from the lens of the financial and operational metrics in the Public Insight Financial and Operational Interactive which is primarily HCRIS data. 

 

  • Presence has about 3% more outpatient procedures as a percent of volume than Ascension.

  • Presence has more than 50% of its patient days from Medicare and Medicaid compared to 43% of Ascension.

  • Presence’ Average Daily Census has steadily declined for 9 of the 11 hospitals

While Presence has overcome substantial financial hurdles and refinanced, the financial distress from 2015 may have remained a factor. (Editors Note: In our Weekly Insights post, we incorrectly reported Presence had an average of 11 days cash on hand at the end of 2015. This was based on an incorrect computation.)

 

Presence will be combined into Amita Health, a 2-year-old joint venture that encompasses nine hospitals and a large physician network across the western and northwestern suburbs of Chicago. This structure should concentrate the focus on the unique challenges of the regional Illinois market.