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Business Observer Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020 5 months ago

Two health systems will merge to form network of care

Tidewell Hospice is Sarasota-based Stratum’s most-recognized brand.

SARASOTA — Empath Health and Stratum Health System have entered into formal discussions to merge the two organizations.

The move brings together two integrated networks of care that share a commitment to the preservation of their charitable missions of nonprofit hospice, home care and community-based services. The new organization will care for more than 6,000 people a day, according to a press release. 

Tidewell Hospice is Sarasota-based Stratum’s most-recognized brand. Empath Health’s integrated care network supports patients with chronic or advanced illness in greater Tampa Bay. Its family of services includes Suncoast Hospice, the release states. 

“Empath and Stratum both independently operate in good business and financial health, but must plan for the future,” says Stratum President and CEO Jonathan Fleece in the statement. “The combined organization will have the scale, breadth and capabilities to compete more effectively as the health care marketplace continues to evolve through increased competition. Our services, people and geographic synergies fit well together creating a stronger, more formidable organization for the years to come.”

Highlights of the merger include:

  • Development of an integration plan that brings the two organizations together. The plan has a full integration date of January 2023; 
  • Rafael Sciullo, president and CEO of Empath Health, will serve as the CEO. Fleece will serve as president of the as yet unnamed new organization; 
  • Upon reaching the final integration milestone expected in January 2023, Sciullo has announced his plans for retirement. At that time, Fleece will become president and CEO of the new organization.

According to the release, the merger has no direct impact to patients and their families, volunteers, donors, referral sources or the boards of directors of the current organizations at this time.

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