Adventist Health To Join With St. Joseph Catholic Health in North California

Adventist Health and St. Joseph Health will partner on a new joint operating company that will integrate clinical activities and services across clinics and facilities in Northern California.

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The joint operation will include a new president and CEO, and a few other positions still to be determined.  A governing board of consisting of 5 appointees from each system will also be formed.  Adventist and St. Joseph facilities would keep their existing hospital names, licenses, capital assets and employees.  

Adventist Health is a faith-based, non-profit integrated health system serving more than 75 communities on the West Coast and Hawaii. Its compassionate and talented team of 33,300 includes more than 24,600 employees; 5,000 medical staff physicians; and 3,700 volunteers working together in pursuit of its mission.

St. Joseph Health (SJH) is an integrated Catholic health care delivery system sponsored by the St. Joseph Health Ministry.  It is organized into three regions- Northern California, Southern California, and Texas/ New Mexico. In Northern California, SJH provides a full range of care facilities including 4 acute care hospitals, home health agency, hospice care, outpatient services and community clinics.

“Adventist Health and St. Joseph Health believe this is the right thing to do for the communities we serve,” said Jeff Eller, Adventist Health president of the Northern California region.  “Patients will benefit from more access points, better health outcomes and controlled costs by coordinating their care across the spectrum of their health needs.” 

While Eller and others are optimistic about the financial ramifications of this merger, others have significant spiritual concerns about the merger:

Such a discouraging and disheartening move, however consistent with corporate direction. We don’t have to speculate what EGW would say!  We have lost other hospitals to non-Adventist control.  Do we ever learn?
People say Rome has changed.  But Rome is patient and waits.  And the second they slip an Administrator, talented though that person may be business wise, to the level of president or CEO, instantly the infrastructure is lost and good luck ever getting it back.  All the investment of donations, commitment of time, energy and ingenuity and the potential of even remotely doing right hand, left hand ministry is dead.  This is playing with fire.

Officials at Adventist Health and St. Joseph Catholic Health are working toward a closing of the proposed transaction in 2018.  

On a related note, according to Walla Walla University's News page, Alex Bryan has been named director of Mission Identity (whatever that is) for Adventist Health.  From their website:

Alex Bryan, senior pastor at the Walla Walla University Church, has been named administrative director for mission identity for Adventist Health.  While continuing to be present at the church through the end of the school year, his transition will begin April 30. Bryan will develop and lead Adventist Health’s strategy around alignment to mission, spiritual care, church and faith community relations, and theological and ethical foundations of mission.

Apparently, Alex Bryan will become a spiritual guide/advisor to the 33,000 employees, doctors, and volunteers of Adventist Health.  

Article by Pastor Rick Howard (now deceased) analyzing the One Project and Alex Bryan's paper on Adventist ecclesiology.

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"Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3).