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Summa Health to begin partnership search

Akron, Ohio-based Summa Health revealed its intent Sept. 27 to begin seeking partnership or merger proposals from interested organizations, The Canton Repository reports.

"We want to continue to grow market share and get the benefits of being part of a larger health system," Cliff Deveny, MD, Summa Health's interim president and CEO, said in a news release obtained by The Canon Repository. "This is not about deconstructing the organization or closing any services. This is really all about finding the right partner that will help us continue to realize the vision we have."

Dr. Deveny, who notified the system's 7,000 employees of the decision Sept. 27, said officials are considering all options. The goal of the potential union is to become "fully integrated" with a bigger health system. Summa Health has maintained an affiliation with Cincinnati-based Mercy Health, but the contract is set to expire in five years.

"Learning from the minority partnership model, it has a life expectancy that runs its course. If you sell something, you lose control of it," Dr. Deveny said.

If Summa Health doesn't find a partner willing to match its goals and values, including charity care, officials said the organization is strong enough to continue its partnership with Mercy Health for the remainder of their agreement.

Mercy Health recently finalized its merger with Marriottsville, Md.-based Bon Secours Health System to create a 43-hospital system and one of the largest Catholic hospital organizations in the nation.

Summa Health officials said they aim to identify potential partners within the first three months of 2019, select finalists in the summer and reach an agreement by the end of 2019.

The system's partnership announcement comes roughly one week after its bid to restart its emergency medicine residency program was rejected by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education.

To access the full report, click here.

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