Hoag to end affiliation with Providence by Jan. 31

Orange County, California-based Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian will break away from Providence Health after nearly a nearly decade-long affiliation with the larger nonprofit health system, the organizations announced Monday.

The affiliation is scheduled to end by Jan. 31, with the systems promising to cooperate on executing a seamless transition.

“We appreciate the relationships we built over the last several years with the Providence and St. Joseph teams,” Robert T. Braithwaite, CEO and president of Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, said in a statement. “This move opens up new avenues of collaboration in the future, as each institution brings its unique strengths to bear in service of patient health.”

The groups did not share any other details on the split per the terms of their confidential settlement agreement. However, a Sunday order from California Attorney General Rob Bonta permitting the disaffiliation listed agreements from Hoag to expand its reproductive health services in Orange County once independent.

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“In a time when reproductive rights are under attack, we have to take every reasonable step we can to protect and expand reproductive healthcare in California,” Bonta said in a statement. “The separation of Hoag from Providence will allow two strong health systems to continue to operate, while allowing Hoag to expand access to essential reproductive care in the area.”

Hoag consists of two acute care hospitals, nine health centers and 14 urgent care centers. It has roughly 6,500 employees and 1,700 network physicians, according to the nonprofit, and provides treatment to 30,000 inpatients and 450,000 outpatients annually.

Providence is among the nation’s largest Catholic health systems with 52 hospitals, over 1,000 other care site and services and more than 120,000 employees.

Hoag struck the affiliation deal with St. Joseph Health in 2012, with the latter merging to join Providence in 2016.

In 2020, the smaller system filed a lawsuit seeking the disaffiliation and arguing that it was a “Captive affiliate” of Providence and had limited ability to meet the health needs of its local community. Providence leaders argued against the split, with the system later filing an unsuccessful bid to have Hoag’s lawsuit dismissed by the courts.

Monday’s agreement announcement describes the split as amicable between the two systems.

“Although we are formally parting ways, we will have other opportunities to work together on behalf of the community,” Erik Wexler, president of operations at Providence, said in a statement. “We look forward to future collaborations with our colleagues at Hoag, whom we continue to hold in high regard.”