October 18, 2012 – Catholic Health East (A2 / 85230MCW2), the health system that owns St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton, and Michigan-based Trinity Health (Aa2 / 59465HQL3) have tentatively agreed to a merger that would create a sprawling network of Catholic hospitals across 21 states. Executives at the two hospital systems announced yesterday they had entered into a non-binding letter of intent to consolidate. The goal is to reach a definitive decision this spring. “Trinity Health and Catholic Health East are strong Catholic health care systems that share a Gospel-based mission and an unyielding commitment to care for people who are poor and underserved,” said Sister Mary Mollison, chairwoman of Trinity Health. “This consolidation advances the vision of congregations of sisters that founded these health care ministries, addresses the changing health care environment and takes a bold next step for Catholic health care.” Newtown Square, Pa.-based Catholic Health East runs 35 hospitals, including St. Francis, Lourdes Health Systems hospitals in Willingboro and Camden, St. Michael’s Medical Center in Newark and St. Mary Medical Center in Middletown, Pa. Trinity Health is the 10th largest health care system in the nation. A consolidation between it and Catholic Health East would result in one of the largest Catholic hospital organizations in the country, with 82 hospitals and 89 rehabilitation, home health and hospice facilities. The combined system would employ 87,000 workers, including 4,100 doctors, with a combined annual operating revenue of roughly $13.3 billion. Almost $1 billion annually would be spent on charity care, a hallmark of Catholic health care.