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Why General Catalyst says Summa Health purchase isn't 'another private equity deal'

General Catalyst's leaders said its proposed acquisition of Akron, Ohio-based Summa Health should not be "mischaracterized as another 'private equity' deal."

The venture capital firm announced Jan. 17 it signed a letter of intent to acquire Summa Health and transform it into a for-profit entity. The two organizations anticipate locking in a definitive agreement in the coming months. If finalized, Summa Health would become a fully owned subsidiary of General Catalyst through the Health Assurance Transformation Corp., or HATCo. 

In a Jan. 17 blog post from General Catalyst CEO Hemant Taneja and HATCo CEO Marc Harrison, MD, said the deal is a "fundamentally different kind of partnership and approach in several ways." 

They said the focus of the deal isn't on taking costs out, it's on putting innovation in. They said they intend to build "modern, tech-enabled healthcare delivery platforms at scale, across all points of care."

The pair also said the deal is not a "quick flip but a long-term commitment to transformation that benefits the community." They also said the overriding goal is to "positively transform the patient experience, believing that starting there will have the greatest transformational effect."

They also said the deal is not an isolated transaction, but part of a larger strategy in which "Summa Health's progress can be an innovation beacon for the rest of the industry." Dr. Harrison and Mr. Taneja said in an October blog post that HATCo wanted to buy a health system and aimed to create a national blueprint for healthcare delivery transformation. 

In the Jan. 17 post, the pair said that HATCO and Summa Health leadership have a clear understanding of the health system's future path to growth, vitality, service and success. 

"We believe HATCo's investment into Summa Health will drive not only near-term benefit to the organization and the patients it serves but also sustainable, long-term transformation through a true shift to value-based care and access to new revenue streams, resources, innovations and technologies."

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