More on Mergers & Acquisitions

Dover's Union Hospital to join Cleveland Clinic System after year of cost-cutting, layoffs

Two entities have signed a letter of intent; details of agreement to be finalized over the next 90 days, hospital says.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

Cleveland Clinic and Dover, Ohio's Union Hospital have signed a letter of intent signaling the hospital will join the famous health network.

Representatives from both institutions' will work on finalizing the agreement and seeking regulatory approval so Union Hospital can integrate into Cleveland Clinic's renowned network by January 1, 2018.

"Under the guidance and management of Cleveland Clinic, Union has the opportunity to add physicians, grow services and become fiscally stronger," Union Hospital said in a statement.

[Also: Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove stepping down]

While Union said no other details of the agreement could be released until both parties have signed off on it, their CEO Bruce James said in a statement that they are "pleased with the proposed terms outlined in the letter of intent" and that details would be finalized in roughly 90 days.

James also said Union shares in a common plight affecting independent hospitals nationwide who are struggling under the weight of rising operational costs coupled with revenues that are not increasing as quickly or not at all. Last year, the hospital cuts 20 jobs in conjunction with a $3 million cost-cutting campaign.

"If cost-cutting continued, eventually it would lead to cutbacks in services and more jobs even though the hospital offers one of the best healthcare values in the state," Union said in a statement.

Also, Union already has an established connection to Cleveland Clinic for several years via a service partnership agreement with their Telestroke Network, a connection for treatment for stroke patients at the Union Hospital Lauren Emergency Center and Cleveland Clinic's Cerebrovascular Center.

[Also: Cleveland Clinic CEO thinks bipartisanship could fix healthcare's cost problem]

Cleveland Clinic already operates ten regional hospitals in Cuyahoga, Lorain, Medina and Summit Counties. In 2016, the system generated roughly eight billion dollars in operating revenue with more than 4400 beds systemwide, a staff of 15,400 clinicians and over 51,000 employees.

"We are honored to have been selected as Union Hospital's partner, and look forward to collaborating with the Union Hospital family to expand access to high-quality, affordable healthcare for the local communities of Dover, New Philadelphia and Tuscarawas, Carroll, and surrounding counties," said Ann Huston, Cleveland Clinic's Chief Strategy Officer. "Our goal is to apply the collective resources of Cleveland Clinic and Union Hospital to sustain Union as a clinically vibrant and financially strong community-based healthcare system."

Twitter: @BethJSanborn