It bought 2 Tri-City hospitals and merged with another company. What’s that mean for local healthcare?

Trios Southridge Hospital in Kennewick was bought by RCCH HealthCare Partners earlier this year.
Trios Southridge Hospital in Kennewick was bought by RCCH HealthCare Partners earlier this year. Tri-City Herald

The Tennessee company that bought two Tri-City hospitals earlier this year has merged with another healthcare system.

RCCH HealthCare Partners has joined with LifePoint Health, and the new company is going by the LifePoint name.

In the Tri-Cities, the newly completed merger “will bring new opportunities to grow and thrive in the rapidly evolving, competitive healthcare landscape,” LifePoint Health said in a statement provided to the Herald.

The local leadership team is still in place, said LifePoint spokeswoman Michelle Augusty.

John Solheim is chief executive officer at Trios in Kennewick, and Mark Gregson is interim CEO at Lourdes in Pasco.

Augusty declined to answer specific questions about potential local impacts of the merger, pointing to a company statement.

“While there are great opportunities ahead, much about how our hospitals operate today — including our dedication to our patients, employees, physicians, and community — will remain the same, and we do not anticipate any changes in how our patients access our hospitals and healthcare providers,” the statement said.

“People throughout the Tri-Cities region can continue to count on our committed staff and physicians at Lourdes and Trios to provide excellent care that makes our community healthier.”

LifePoint looks forward to sharing more in the future, the statement said.

Lourdes Health in Pasco. File Tri-City Herald

LifePoint Health also is based in Tennessee. With the merger, the new company has 89 campuses in 30 states.

David Dill is the new CEO. He was LifePoint’s president and chief operating officer.

Most of the new company’s other top leadership positions also are being filled by executives from pre-merger LifePoint.

RCCH bought Trios and Lourdes in two separate transactions earlier this year.

The company’s merger with LifePoint wasn’t a surprise; it’s been in the works for some time.

It’s unclear how or if the merger will affect the work that recently started around Tri-Cities Cancer Center’s nonprofit status.

The center, which is jointly owned by Trios, Lourdes and Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, wants to retain its nonprofit status, pointing to tax and fundraising benefits. Kadlec is nonprofit, but RCCH wasn’t, and neither is the new LifePoint.

So that complicates the situation.

Tri-Cities Cancer Center. File Tri-City Herald

Discussions recently started with RCCH officials on how to maintain the center’s nonprofit status while still allowing the joint ownership. Chuck DeGooyer, cancer center CEO, said in September that he expected details to be worked out within six months.

Discussions will essentially start over, DeGooyer said this week, but he remains optimistic.

Augusty said LifePoint wouldn’t comment on the merger beyond its statement, which didn’t address the cancer center discussion.

Sara Schilling: 509-582-1529, sschilling@tricityherald.com