Cabell Huntington now in talks to acquire St. Mary’s

Cabell Huntington Hospital is in talks to acquire St. Mary’s Medical Center following a decision by St. Mary’s Catholic-based parent company to drop sponsorship of the hospital, the companies confirmed Tuesday.

Cabell Huntington on Monday confirmed it was in talks regarding “an affiliation” with St. Mary’s. Cabell Huntington subsequently announced Tuesday morning the two hospitals were in the initial steps of a potential acquisition of St. Mary’s Medical Center by Cabell Huntington.

Michael Sellards, CEO of St. Mary’s Medical Center, said in a press release the Pallottine Missionary Sisters, a Catholic-affiliated organization that owns the hospital through the parent company of Pallottine Health Services Inc., have decided to end their sponsorship of St. Mary’s.

Sellards said a declining number of sisters and the effects of recent federal health care reform were factors in the decision.

“The Pallottine Sisters have worked for 90 years to make St. Mary’s Medical Center what it is today,” Sellards said. “However, healthcare reform has caused hospitals throughout the nation to look at ways to meet the future challenge of healthcare.

“In addition, with the changing climate of healthcare and fewer sisters to oversee our healthcare ministries, the Pallottine Missionary Sisters made the decision to end their sponsorship of St. Mary’s Medical Center,” he said.

Sellards and Cabell Huntington CEO Brent Marsteller said the new partnership with Cabell Huntington could allow both facilities to play off each others strengths and make the two hospitals more efficient.

“We are pleased to explore a partnership with Cabell Huntington Hospital as we believe that by combining our complementary strengths, we can both significantly improve our ability to meet the healthcare needs of the region, and provide better care more efficiently,” Sellards said.

“Cabell Huntington Hospital continuously seeks strategic partnerships and collaborations with providers and entities to prepare for population health management, increase access and manage the cost of health care,” Marsteller said. “We are extremely excited about the potential of a close working relationship with St. Mary’s Medical Center as we see this as critical to delivering the highest quality care in the most cost effective and efficient manner.”

Marsteller said, in the meantime, the companies will continue to operate both hospitals independently.

St. Mary’s is the larger of the two hospitals. St. Mary’s was the eighth-largest private employer in the state and top private employer in Cabell County; Cabell Huntington ranks 12th in the state, and second in Cabell County.

With more than 2,600 employees, St. Mary’s Medical Center is a 393-bed hospital and operates divisions focused on cardiac care, cancer treatment, emergency and trauma services, neuroscience, and joint replacement.

Cabell Huntington Hospital is a 303-bed hospital that is affiliated with Marshall University’s schools of Medicine, Pharmacy and Nursing. Originally opened in 1956, it is home to the Hoops Family Children’s Hospital and the Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Contact writer Jared Hunt at or 304-348-4836.

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