Trinity Health's MercyOne, Genesis Health System pursuing 'strategic partnership' focused on growth

Trinity Health’s MercyOne and Genesis Health System have signed a letter of intent to explore a “strategic partnership” intended to fuel growth, support workforce efforts and ensure quality care, the nonprofit systems announced last week.

Genesis, a health network with six medical centers and over 100 locations across eastern Iowa and western Illinois’ Quad Cities region, had announced plans to seek a partnership last December and said in the spring that it had vetted more than 30 interested organizations.

West Des Moines Iowa-based MercyOne runs 16 hospitals and was jointly owned and operated by Catholic health giants Trinity Health and CommonSpirit Health since its founding in 1998. That changed earlier this month when Trinity bought out CommonSpirit’s 50% stake for full ownership.

Genesis and MercyOne said in the announcement that there will be no operational changes due to the letter of intent nor during the next “several months” of due diligence as they work toward a definitive agreement.

Although the pending arrangement was not explicitly described as a merger, Genesis President and CEO Doug Cropper noted in the announcement that his system’s search had focused on selecting “a partner willing to make significant investments in Genesis that will enhance our ability to grow, thrive and deliver more seamless integrated care in our region.”

Prior announcements from Genesis had stressed that the nonprofit was not seeking a partner out of financial need but in the interest of creating “additional opportunities to address market pressures and provide additional scale.”

Cropper said Genesis landed on MercyOne and Trinity due to a strong cultural fit and the “skill, talent and scale of national and regional resources” the organizations could offer.

“We believe MercyOne is the best partner to deepen our commitment to quality, safety and patient experience,” Cropper said in the announcement. “This partnership will enhance support for our workforce retention and recruitment efforts and collaboratively address the most pressing issues facing health care today.”

MercyOne sees 3.3 million patients annually across its more than 400 centers and care sites, generating more than $3 billion in combined annual revenue. Its parent company Trinity reported annual operating revenue of $20.2 billion.

“MercyOne and Genesis Health System are both mission-driven organizations committed to delivering the highest quality care and best patient experience to all we serve across Iowa,” Bob Ritz, MercyOne president and CEO, said in the announcement. “We look forward to continuing discussions and shaping a framework to enhance access to personalized, convenient health care across Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois.”

In a statement to the Des Moines Register, the Iowa Hospital Association said the strategic partnership plans will be a boon “not only for their systems but also all Iowans who will benefit from the integrated levels of care they will provide.”