Dignity Health buying U.S. HealthWorks

07/03/2012 12:00 AM

07/02/2012 8:39 PM

San Francisco-based Dignity Health, formerly Catholic Healthcare West, said Monday it will acquire U.S. HealthWorks, which bills itself as the largest independent operator of occupational medicine and urgent care centers in the United States.

U.S. HealthWorks's top executive is Daniel Crowley, who was chairman of Rancho Cordova-based Foundation Health Corp. before it merged with Health Systems International in 1997. Crowley remains based in Sacramento.

During Crowley's tenure, Foundation was Sacramento's largest company, employing nearly 3,000 in the area.

In eight years, Crowley transformed struggling Foundation into a nearly $5 billion health industry giant. Previously, he took Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Ohio from a $62 million loss to a $6 million profit in one year.

Now, he sees growth for Valencia-based U.S. HealthWorks.

"Dignity Health provides a great platform for us to continue growing our network to provide high-quality health care services throughout the country," Crowley said.

The deal is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to be finalized in August. Financial terms were not disclosed.

U.S. HealthWorks operates 172 facilities nationwide, employing 2,700. It has seven locations in the Sacramento area, including offices in Sacramento, Rocklin and Stockton.

Crowley will continue as president and CEO of U.S. HealthWorks, which will operate through a wholly owned, for-profit subsidiary of Dignity Health.

For Dignity Health, the fifth-largest health system in the nation, the acquisition announced Monday furthers a goal of becoming a more national integrated delivery network by 2020.

"This allows us to expand our health care ministry into 16 states, and it strengthens our ability to deliver the integrated, quality care that people expect and deserve," said Lloyd Dean, president and CEO of Dignity Health.

Dignity Health said it plans to expand U.S. HealthWorks operations nationally.

It's also investing in ambulatory surgery and imaging centers through its partnerships with Texas-based United Surgical Partners International and Arizona-based SimonMed Imaging. Dignity has 17 joint-venture surgical centers with USPI and 35 imaging centers with SimonMed.

Catholic Healthcare West, which operates six hospitals in the Sacramento region, announced early this year that it was changing its name to Dignity Health and cutting its affiliation with the Catholic Church.

At that time, Dignity officials said the change reflected its desire to expand into other markets. Many U.S. health care providers have been under pressure to merge, coordinate and expand services in order to remain profitable. Officials also noted that CHW's religious affiliation had been a concern for non-Catholic hospitals considering becoming a part of the network.

Dignity's regional presence includes Mercy General, Mercy San Juan and Mercy Folsom hospitals, which remain Catholic, as well as Methodist Hospital in Sacramento, Woodland Healthcare hospital and Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital in Grass Valley.

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