November 2001

Catholic Health Initiatives Seeks New Owner for St. Joseph Healthcare System in Albuquerque

Catholic Health Initiatives announced that it will seek a new owner for St. Joseph Healthcare System in Albuquerque, N.M., which consists of three acute care hospitals, a rehabilitation hospital, a provider service organization, physician practices and partial ownership in several other businesses.

St. Joseph Healthcare System’s Board of Directors and management and Catholic Health Initiatives have been working together for nearly two years to identify ways to strengthen St. Joseph’s ability to compete more effectively in Albuquerque. They analyzed the market and explored the feasibility of various strategic options, including a joint venture, merger, lease, joint operating agreement and sale of service lines and facilities.

As a result, the Board of Stewardship Trustees of Catholic Health Initiatives decided to seek a new owner for St. Joseph that is committed to providing acute care health services in Albuquerque over the long term.

"We are seeking a new owner who will continue St. Joseph’s acute care services, secure a stronger market position and ensure that Albuquerque residents have a choice of hospitals," said Patricia A. Cahill, JD, president and chief executive officer of Catholic Health Initiatives. "The organization that will be selected by Catholic Health Initiatives and the St. Joseph Board will be an organization that is focused on providing quality health care, is based on solid values, and strives for high levels of patient, physician and employee satisfaction."

Several health care systems–including Catholic, not-for-profit and investor-owned systems–have expressed preliminary interest in St. Joseph, though Catholic Health Initiatives cannot disclose their names due to confidentiality agreements. While there is no deadline for reaching a decision on a prospective owner, Catholic Health Initiatives anticipates that a letter of intent may be signed during the first quarter of calendar year 2002.

Upon the sale of St. Joseph, Catholic Health Initiatives plans to develop a non-hospital Catholic health ministry that will serve the New Mexico community in new ways. "This transition of St. Joseph represents a rededication of the Catholic health ministry in Albuquerque," said Cahill. "The Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati began their hospital ministry in Albuquerque 100 years ago because there were no hospitals in the community at that time. Today, there are several providers of acute care hospital services, but also a continuing need for health ministries focused on community health programs and services. These ministries could be established and expanded through a health ministry that is not anchored solely in a hospital or acute care setting."

Cahill also said that the Board of Stewardship Trustees recognizes and appreciates the operational and financial improvements achieved at St. Joseph. "We are grateful for the hard work and dedication of the St. Joseph Board, leaders and staff," she said. "Even in challenging times, they have demonstrated compassion and excellence in providing care for patients in mind, body and spirit. We are confident that this legacy will continue under new ownership."