Dean to stay with SSM Health Care

Despite recent rumors that Dean Health System would merge with other health systems, the Dean Health System board recommended staying with SSM Health Care, its longtime partner, according to a report in the Wisconsin State Journal.

SSM, which owns St. Mary’s Hospital, will acquire Dean Health System in a deal that could be finalized by summer, though terms were not disclosed.

The transaction merges two organizations that have been named Accountable Care Organizations under the Affordable Care Act. Under the health reform law, health care organizations anticipate an increase in bundled payments, which are payments made to physician groups and hospitals together, for treating Medicare patients. Since they will either gain or lose money based on the quality and efficiency of care, the two organizations pursued the merger because they believe it will better enable them to provide quality care at a lower cost.

Dean is mostly doctor-owned, while SSM, a St. Louis-based health system, owns 18 hospitals and is affiliated with others in Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, and Oklahoma.

The two entities have collaborated for decades and share ownership in Dean Health Plan and over half of Dean’s 60 clinics. SSM also owns 5% of Dean.

Regulators and the state office of the Commissioner of Insurance must still approve the transaction.