Creighton University Medical Center will remain open as a hospital after Alegent Health acquires it this summer, Alegent's CEO said Tuesday.
Richard Hachten, president and chief executive officer of Alegent, also said he doesn't expect layoffs.
Hachten and the Rev. Timothy Lannon, Creighton University's president, said nonbinding agreements have been signed by their institutions and Tenet Healthcare, the for-profit corporation that owns about three-fourths of the hospital. Creighton owns the rest.
Alegent will assume full ownership, but administrators declined to discuss the purchase price.
The acquisition of the Creighton hospital tentatively will occur July 1 but could come later, Hachten and Lannon said. But there's no doubt it will take place, they said.
The merger gives Creighton medical students and residents — physicians gaining more training — opportunities to treat a wider variety of patients and conditions in Alegent's multiple hospitals. Alegent will add some or all of Creighton's 220 physicians, many of whom are specialists. Alegent has about 200 physicians, most of whom are primary care doctors.
The 334-bed Creighton hospital will become Alegent's 10th hospital in the area.
Lannon said the Creighton hospital has struggled to maintain market share and to have enough patients to provide top-notch training for students. “Now this just solves that problem tremendously,” he said.
Lannon said the university's longtime relationship with Tenet has “had its challenges. Because you've got a for-profit and a nonprofit.” He added, though, that patients have received excellent care under Tenet.
Creighton has sent some of its med students for training at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Arizona and will continue to do so, Lannon said.
Creighton also already sends med students and residents to some Alegent hospitals.
Rumors have swirled for months about a merger or acquisition. The World-Herald reported earlier this month that the two were poised to join forces.
Creighton and Alegent already have various ties, including through their UniNet Health Network. The network enables the entities to share resources for medical credentialing, contracting and other services.
Geoff Hays, a third-year medical student at Creighton, said he and his fellow students see the acquisition as good news.
“We're all actually really excited for it,” said Hays, a 24-year-old from Phoenix. “We see a lot of positive things coming out of it.”
Hays said students will now see more patients with different conditions and train under more physicians. While Creighton med students already have access to many programs in Alegent hospitals, this will open even more opportunities, he said.
Click on the tabs below to learn more about Alegent Health and Creighton University Medical Center.
Creighton University Medical Center/St. Joseph's Hospital history
1870: The hospital is established in 1870 by the Sisters of Mercy. In 1882, John and Sarah Emily Creighton expand and rename the hospital St. Joseph Hospital.
December 1977: St. Joseph Hospital moves into the current location at 601 N. 30th St.
October 1984: St. Joseph Hospital is sold to American Medical International of Beverly Hills, Calif., at a price of $99.3 million.
March 1995: American Medical Holdings is absorbed by National Medical Enterprises, which changed its name to Tenet.
April 2000: Tenet Healthcare Corp., principal owner of St. Joseph Hospital, sells three of its clinics to Creighton University and the other three to a group of doctors.
June 2002: St. Joseph Hospital changes its name to Creighton University Medical Center.
2009: Creighton University and Tenet Healthcare decide to renew their partnership agreement. The agreement will continue on two-year intervals unless one party seeks major changes. Dallas-based Tenet owns 74 percent of the hospital and the university owns 26 percent.
April 24, 2012: Creighton announces it is severing ties with Tenent and will join with Alegent Health.
Alegent's presence in the Midlands
ALEGENT (8,600 employees)
Five hospitals in the Omaha-Council Bluffs area:
» Bergan Mercy Medical Center (Omaha)
» Immanuel Medical Center (Omaha)
» Lakeside Hospital (Omaha)
» Midlands Hospital (Papillion)
» Mercy Hospital (Council Bluffs)
Four hospitals in outlying communities:
» Memorial Hospital (Schuyler, Neb.)
» Mercy Hospital (Corning, Iowa)
» Community Memorial Hospital (Missouri Valley, Iowa)
» Plainview Hospital (Plainview, Neb.)
» Also affiliated with Memorial Community Hospital (Blair, Neb.)
» Alegent also has Lasting Hope Recovery Center, an Omaha mental health facility. Senior services:
» Immanuel Fontenelle Home and The Lighthouse, both in Omaha
CREIGHTON (990 employees)
» Creighton University Medical Center (Omaha)
Third-year nursing student Sarah Long also said she sees benefits.
“Merging definitely gives students more opportunity to learn and train in more hospitals,” she said.
Long, 21, said she already had psychiatric rotations at Lasting Hope Recovery Center, which Alegent runs, and Alegent's Immanuel Medical Center. Next semester, she said, she is scheduled to have intensive care unit and medical-surgery rotations. She then is set to shadow a nurse next spring. The acquisition, she said, will provide access to a wider variety of patients: “The general population that comes to CUMC is from around Creighton. So we just see that population.”
Alegent and Creighton both have Catholic ties, and Lannon and Hachten repeatedly said they have similar “faith-based missions” to treat the underprivileged. Alegent additionally is sponsored by Immanuel Health Systems, which has ties to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
“Caring for the poor is part of our culture,” Lannon said.
Hachten said Alegent is committed to north Omaha and will continue serving it. “It's business as usual, as Father Lannon said,” Hachten said.
Gary Honts, president and CEO of the Creighton hospital, said single hospitals increasingly are aligning with systems or other hospitals.
Hachten said in an interview in Lannon's Creighton office that the hospital will stay open — and not just for the short term. He added, though, that he doesn't know “what the ultimate configuration of services might be there or what the ultimate future's going to be.”
“We will continue operating it and evaluate the services and the needs of this part of the community,” Hachten said. “And regardless of what happens, we are going to maintain a significant presence here.”
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