St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury announced plans Tuesday to be acquired by Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corporation, a national for-profit hospital chain that’s already in the process of purchasing hospitals in Bristol, Vernon, Manchester and Waterbury.

St. Mary’s had been considering corporate suitors for several years. A previous deal to join forces with a different for-profit company and Waterbury Hospital fell apart two years ago over concerns about providing reproductive services and the rules St. Mary’s operates under as a Catholic hospital.

Although Tenet is also in the process of acquiring Waterbury Hospital, the deal announced Tuesday would leave each hospital in the city separate. Both would convert from nonprofit to for-profit.

According to a statement from St. Mary’s and Tenet, the hospital would continue to operate under the Catholic Ethical and Religious Directives and follow the same charity care and uncompensated care policies it currently does. All employees would be offered jobs after the transaction closes and a local advisory board would be set up to provide oversight of hospital operations, according to the two companies.

The plan must receive approval processes by state and federal regulators.

The transaction will provide money to fully fund the St. Mary’s pension and eliminate debt, according to the statement.

Legislation passed this year, crafted with Tenet’s other pending transactions in mind, changed state law to make it easier for nonprofit hospitals to convert to for-profits.

Arielle Levin Becker covered health care for The Connecticut Mirror. She previously worked for The Hartford Courant, most recently as its health reporter, and has also covered small towns, courts and education in Connecticut and New Jersey. She was a finalist in 2009 for the prestigious Livingston Award for Young Journalists, a recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship and the third-place winner in 2013 for an in-depth piece on caregivers from the National Association of Health Journalists. She is a 2004 graduate of Yale University.

Leave a comment