Irving-based Christus Health is negotiating a joint-venture agreement for ownership, operation, and expansion of Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC) in Santiago.
Chile PUC is that nation’s largest medical school, and has a health network composed of two hospital campuses with about 600 beds, 11 outpatient centers, and a large laboratory and imaging services network, making it one of the largest health systems in Chile.
Christus Health and PUC officials expect to finalize a definitive agreement in 60-90 days.
PUC selected Christus Health from nearly a dozen international bidders. The company is one of the few American health systems with a longstanding international presence. The 10th largest U.S. non-profit hospital system, Christus also is the largest non-profit healthcare provider in Texas and the second-largest private healthcare provider in Mexico. It has annual revenue of about $5 billion and employs 30,000 in seven states and Mexico. It has had a seven-hospital joint ventures in Mexico since 2001.
“We are honored to be chosen by PUC as the organization they will work with to form an exclusive partnership,” said Ernie Sadau, Christus Health’s president and CEO. “We believe that our international expansion will help us extend our mission around the world, meeting health care needs that are great and deeply felt in Latin America and complement our strong position in the United States. The partnership we create in Chile will also help us diversify our operations, increase long-term sustainability, and help Christus lead the development of new, worldwide health care models.”
Sadau said Christus plans to “contribute a significant amount of capital” to the joint venture. He anticipates adding more outpatient clinics and one or two more hospitals in Santiago.
The company has been exploring expansion in other Latin American nations, evaluating the nation’s political stability, the strength of its middle class, growth in gross domestic product and the existence of a “respected large partner,” Sadau said.
“This joint venture qualifies on every one of those criteria. (PUC) is a tremendous brand. We don’t want to go into a nation and just be a small player,” he said.
Sadau mentioned that the company put an opportunity in Peru “on hold” while it pursued the partnership in Chile.
“We look forward to the opportunity to answer this calling in Santiago, following the example of our sponsoring congregations in extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ, and strengthening Catholic health care around the world,” Sadau said.
Banchile Citi Global Markets and Citigroup Global Markets are acting as the company’s financial advisers during the negotiations.
Steve Jacob is editor of D Healthcare Daily and author of the new book Health Care in 2020: Where Uncertain Reform, Bad Habits, Too Few Doctors and Skyrocketing Costs Are Taking Us. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.