CHI, Dignity Merger Draws Concern From Nurses

Nurses and healthcare advocates expressed concern over the proposed merger between San Francisco-based Dignity Health and Englewood, Colo.-based Catholic Health Initiatives and its effect on their pensions and patients' access to care during a public meeting Aug. 23, the San Francisco Examiner reports.

The proposed deal, which was announced in December 2016, will create a $28.4 billion enterprise with 139 hospitals, 700-plus care sites, approximately 159,000 employees, and 25,000-plus physicians and advanced practice clinicians.

While the proposed merger still requires regulatory approval, officials held the first of 17 scheduled hearings to discuss the deal on Aug. 23. During the hearing, affected individuals were able to discuss concerns about potential hospital closures, changing contracts and how the institutions' Catholic roots would shape the combined organization's women's and LGBTQ healthcare services.

Some healthcare advocates expressed concern over how services at Dignity's non-Catholic hospitals would be preserved. The San Francisco Examiner reports one of the stipulations of the merger involves the institutions making a five-year commitment to keeping all services and hospitals open.

"We are extremely concerned about the future and unknown impact that his proposed merger will have on our pension. Especially due to the structural changes that will take place in Dignity Health as it splits into two separate companies, Catholic and non-Catholic," said a nurse based in Redwood City, Calif., said during the meeting.

Officials expect to hold an additional 16 hearings on the pending merger.

To access the full report, click here.

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