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Ascension Health and Private Equity Firm Oak Hill Capital Form Joint Venture To Buy Catholic Hospitals and Health Systems

Posted Mar 01 2011 1:43am

According to the article, Oak Hill Capital will invest $400 million and assume $495 image million in debt.  Ascension which was created in 1999 currently has 69 hospitals in 20 states.  The agreement also allows for the hospitals t adhere to the teachings of the Catholic religion.  The goal is to give Catholic hospitals an option of staying within the Catholic health system without having to sell out completely to a private equity firm, like what occurred in Massachusetts with the Cerberus group and Caritas.  BD

Ascension Health, the country's largest Catholic health care system, has tapped Leo Brideau, the former chief executive of Columbia St. Mary's, to oversee a new venture that plans to buy Catholic hospitals and health systems throughout the country. image

The goal is to preserve the identity and mission of Catholic hospitals that need capital by giving them an alternative to selling out to private equity firms and for-profit chains.

Ascension, the parent of Columbia St. Mary's, and Oak Hill Capital Partners, a private equity firm based in Menlo Park, Calif., have formed a joint venture - Ascension Health Care Network - that will buy Catholic hospitals and health systems.

Many of those hospitals and health systems are burdened by debt, unfunded pension obligations, older facilities and limited access to the capital. That could force them to consider offers from for-profit chains and private equity firms.

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