Summa Health fields concerns over General Catalyst acquisition

Akron, Ohio-based Summa Health said its proposed acquisition by Health Assurance Transformation Corp., or HATCo, a fully owned subsidiary of General Catalyst, will set up the hospital for long-term success, reported Feb. 1.

The agreement between Summa and HATCo, announced Jan. 17, will transform Summa Health into a for-profit organization. 

During a Feb. 1 council meeting, Summa's COO, Ben Sutton, addressed concerns about the proposed acquisition and said the organization must become profitable to remain sustainable. 

Mr. Sutton acknowledged the financial challenges faced by Summa Health, stating that the company is expecting a breakeven budget this year and is currently not investing sufficient capital annually. To address these issues, the proposed acquisition by HATCo is positioned as a strategic move to ensure Summa's long-term success, according to Mr. Sutton.

Akron Mayor Shammas Malik expressed both optimism and skepticism regarding the proposed sale, citing promising commitments while questioning the sustainability of capital investment over decades. He highlighted the community's concerns, emphasizing the need for a commitment that aligns with the long-term interests of Akron residents.

In response, Mr. Sutton clarified that HATCo, as the buyer, is obligated to continue serving all individuals. He reassured that HATCo has agreed to adopt Summa's charity care policy, aiming to maintain accessibility for all, regardless of insurance coverage.

Additionally, concerns were raised about employees participating in the Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which requires beneficiaries to work for a nonprofit entity. Mr. Sutton said existing benefits would be retained, but employees might not accrue additional credit. Summa has been guiding affected employees to seek advice from experts on loan forgiveness, according to the chief operating officer.

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