|Via Christi Health Joins Ascension Health
(WICHITA, KAN.) APRIL 1, 2013 – Effective today, Via Christi Health and two other regional health systems that comprised the Marian Health System have joined Ascension Health. Marian Health System reached an agreement with St. Louis-based Ascension Health Alliance, parent organization of Ascension Health. Ascension Health is the largest Catholic and largest nonprofit health system in the nation.
Via Christi has been an affiliate of Ascension Health since 2007 when one of its sponsors, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Wichita, joined other St. Joseph congregations to form the Congregation of St. Joseph, which is part of the sponsorship structure of Ascension Health. Via Christi’s other sponsor, the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, has operated three regional health systems – Ministry Health Care in Wisconsin and Minnesota, St. John Health System in Oklahoma, and Via Christi – through the Marian Health System since 1989.
“We are pleased to fully become a part of Ascension Health and believe this agreement will strengthen Via Christi and Catholic health care nationwide,” said Jeff Korsmo, President and Chief Executive Officer, Via Christi Health. “Both of our organizations share a commitment to our mission and will be able to share best practices and learn from each other as we work to provide the highest quality, safest care and excellent service to our patients, our senior care residents and their families.”
“Ascension Health Alliance and the health systems of Marian, including Via Christi Health, share a common mission of serving all with special attention to those who are poor and vulnerable,” said Anthony R. Tersigni, EdD, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ascension Health Alliance. “We also share a commitment to providing spiritually centered, holistic care and advocating for a compassionate and just society through actions and words. This joining together is another expression of our ongoing commitment to strengthen Catholic healthcare.”
“We’re excited to welcome Via Christi and the other health systems of Marian to our national health ministry,” said Robert J. Henkel, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ascension Health. “Adding their strengths and expertise to those of Ascension Health creates a combined ministry that is even better able to live our Mission of serving all and to position ourselves to meet the needs of our communities.”
Nicholas F. Desien, in addition to his role as President and Chief Executive Officer of Ministry Health Care, has agreed to also serve as Ascension Health Ministry Market Leader for Wisconsin, Kansas and Oklahoma. As Ministry Market Leader, Mr. Desien will provide leadership, support and direction to the Health Ministries in these three states, sharing accountability for their strategic positioning and operational performance.
“We’re pleased that Nick Desien has agreed to add the role of Ministry Market Leader to his responsibilities,” Mr. Henkel said, “and our executive leadership community looks forward to working closely with him and with all of the leaders, associates and physicians across the three new Health Ministries of Ascension Health.”
In addition, Sister Therese Gottschalk, who has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Marian Health System, has agreed to assume a new role as Executive Advisor to the President and Chief Executive Officer of Ascension Health, where her experience and knowledge will be invaluable in supporting the transition of the new Health Ministries. She will continue to serve on the Boards of Ministry Health Care, St. John Health System and Via Christi Health.
The Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, the founders of the former St. Francis Hospital in Wichita, decided to have their health care ministry, Marian Health System, join Ascension Health to strengthen Catholic health care and ensure their healing ministry’s long-term future.
“Ascension Health shares our goal of serving the community, with special attention to the poor,” Sister Therese Gottschalk said. “By joining representatives of other religious congregations and laypersons in the sponsorship structure of Ascension Health Alliance, the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother are able to ensure Catholic healthcare in the United States remains strong.”
Ascension Health’s leaders have expressed support for Via Christi’s vision of integrating care across the spectrum of home care, clinics, hospitals and senior services to improve the health of the populations Via Christi serves while controlling the costs of health care.
The two health systems announced plans to enter into the agreement in August 2012. The final agreement was reached in March 2013 and took effect today, April 1. Specific terms are confidential.
About Ascension Health Alliance
Ascension Health Alliance is transforming healthcare by providing the highest quality care to all with special attention to those who are poor and vulnerable. Last year Ascension Health Alliance, through its subsidiary Ascension Health, provided more than $1.3 billion in care of persons living in poverty and community benefit programs. Its Mission-focused Health Ministries now employ more than 150,000 associates serving in more than 1,500 locations in 23 states and the District of Columbia.
About Via Christi Health
Via Christi Health is the largest provider of health care services in Kansas. Via Christi employs more than 10,000 in its hospitals, senior villages, physician offices and health services. In fiscal year 2012, it provided $90.5 million in community benefit to those it serves, including the poor. Visit viachristi.org.