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Essentia will not acquire CommonSpirit CHI facilities

Essentia Health and CommonSpirit signed a letter of intent in January for Essentia to acquire more than a dozen CHI facilities in Minnesota and North Dakota.

Essentia Health Hospital FILE.JPG
Essentia Health in Duluth as seen in July. (Tyler Schank / 2020 file / News Tribune)
Tyler Schank

Essentia Health and CommonSpirit Health have ended negotiations for Essentia to acquire more than a dozen Catholic Health Initiatives facilities in Minnesota and North Dakota. The health organizations signed a letter of intent in early January, but announced Tuesday afternoon that they could not reach an agreement.

In the release from Essentia and CommonSpirit, the health systems stated they remain committed to possibilities in the future and have strengthened their relationship throughout the negotiation process.

"While we share a similar mission, vision, values and strong commitment to sustainable rural health care, CommonSpirit and Essentia were unable to come to an agreement that would serve the best interests of both organizations, the people we employ and the patients we serve," the joint news release said.

Earlier this month, more than 800 Essentia and CHI nurses signed a petition expressing their concerns about the takeover, fearing loss of jobs and services. Nurses said they had not received reassurance from the organizations that their contracts and benefits would be honored under Essentia's ownership, and they were worried services at rural hospitals would be eliminated.

PREVIOUSLY: Nurses fear loss of jobs, services under Essentia takeover Essentia and CommonSpirit signed a letter of intent for Essentia to acquire 17 facilities. However, nurses have not received a guarantee from either health system that the change in ownership will protect the services and jobs the facilities currently offer.
Leslie McKamey, a registered nurse at CHI St. Alexius Hospital in Bismarck, North Dakota, said she and other nurses hope the health systems will rededicate resources back to patients and staff now that the negotiations are over.

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“We were hopeful that both parties could convince us and the public that the deal would create synergies to improve the overall quality of services," McKamey said. "Their refusal to do so indicates to us that this deal was unsound from the start and hopefully we staved off negative consequences like potential layoffs or service cuts."

PREVIOUSLY: Essentia Health in works to acquire CommonSpirit CHI facilities The Duluth-based health care system has signed a letter of intent for several CHI hospitals, clinics and living communities in Minnesota and North Dakota.

Laura Butterbrodt covers health for the Duluth News Tribune. She has a bachelor of arts in journalism from South Dakota State University and has been working as a reporter in Minnesota and South Dakota since 2014.
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