Irving-based Christus Health is expanding its march into East Texas, announcing Monday that it has signed a letter of intent to acquire Longview-based Good Shepherd Health System.

In May, the Catholic, nonprofit health system closed on the purchase of Tyler’s Trinity Mother Frances, the largest health system in East Texas, to expand its network through southern Louisiana and the eastern border of Texas. In August 2015, Good Shepherd’s board called for its leadership to find a suitable partner with whom to merge.

“After our experience searching for the right fit, it became clear that Christus Health … could provide Good Shepherd with both the resources to expand the care we currently provide and strengthen our hospitals for the future, helping us to navigate the rapidly-changing health care environment in the U.S.,” said Steve Altmiller, the Good Shepherd president and CEO.

In addition to Trinity Mother Frances, Christus in July bought the Memorial Hospital and Clinic in Sulphur Springs about 80 miles east of Dallas. It also operates the St. Michael facilities in Texarkana and Atlanta, Tex. Adding Good Shepherd brings another two hospitals under its auspices, as well as an affiliated physician group, a 77,000 square foot outpatient and imaging  center, an ambulatory surgical center, a health and wellness institute, one freestanding emergency room, and one urgent care center. It also owns seven family health centers.

The two organizations are still ironing out a formal agreement, and thus did not release any financial information. The deal will also need to stand up to state and federal regulatory reviews, which Christus expects will be completed by early next year. The structure will likely be quite similar to the company’s other mergers, said spokeswoman Katy Kiser. There are currently no plans to change Good Shepherd’s leadership; Christus typically leaves the existing managers in place to continue the work in the markets they know best. In a statement, however, Kiser said evaluations will continue:

“As we go through the due diligence period, we will evaluate many ways to be more effective and efficient by working together. As part of this process we will evaluate the most appropriate structures for continuing to deliver care in Northeast Texas.”

“We know how important the Longview, Marshall and surrounding communities are to the fabric of Northeast Texas,” said Ernie Sadau, president and CEO of Christus Health.  “We are not only looking forward to welcoming these facilities and these communities into the Christus family, but also the opportunity to bring together two not-for-profit organizations focused on providing the highest quality, compassionate care.

Christus currently has healthcare facilities in 60 cities across the U.S., Mexico, Chile, and Colombia. It has an affiliated network of 15,000 physicians and 40,000 staffers. It counts more than 60 hospitals, 175 clinics and outpatient centers, and dozens of other care sites across its networks.

Presented by D Magazine 

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