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Summa Health looking for health system partner

September 27, 2018

Summa Health looking for health system partner

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Summa Health on Oct. 1 will begin searching for a potential partnership with another health system, according to a press release. 

The Akron-based system has struggled financially in recent years, and this move will help ensure “long-term financial stability,” the release said. 

“The board has been thoughtfully evaluating the best path forward to ensure our future growth and success and has decided to explore the possibility of partnering with another leading health system,” Anthony Lockhart, chair of Summa Health Board of Directors, said in a prepared statement. “We are seeking a potential partner who aligns with our commitment and mission to provide compassionate, quality care while further expanding our reach and access to excellent clinical services throughout Northeast Ohio and beyond.” 

Last year, Summa Health announced plans to eliminate 300 positions and change its service offerings because the health system faced $60 million in operating losses. After the changes, the system ended 2017 with a $28-million loss. 

“Over the past year, Summa Health has grown and emerged as a stronger, more nimble organization. But with all the progress that has been made to date, we must continue to advance to safeguard our future,” Dr. Cliff Deveny, interim president and CEO of Summa Health, said in a prepared statement. “We are entering this process from a position of strength and financial stability and we are excited about this potential opportunity. We have set ourselves on an upward trajectory that has driven continued success for our organization and enhanced access to compassionate, quality care to those we serve.” 

Summa Health projects ending 2018 $12 million in the black. 

The system hopes a partner will give it stability in a “highly competitive market” and allow it to expand its service offerings. 

“Increasingly, industry changes have put pressure on hospitals and healthcare systems to expand access to care while also minimizing costs. Navigating this new marketplace independently has become increasingly challenging,” the release said, noting that the health system’s “progress may be stymied without a partner that can help address market pressures.”

Summa Health already has a partnership with Mercy Health but said the two systems are “moving in different strategic directions.” 

Information was not immediately available on which health systems Summa Health might want to partner with, but the Lockhart did say the system “will be fully assessing all potential partners to determine if there is a meaningful partnership opportunity.” 

The board “expects the process to be deliberate, thoughtful and lengthy,” according to the release. 

Summa Health will work with Kaufman Hall & Associates to find a new partner. Interested parties are advised to contact Andre Maksimow at Kaufman Hall at summapartnership@kaufmanhall.com. 

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