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Summa Health System Seeking Partners For a Merger

a photo of Summa's Akron campus
The Summa board says it's exploring a potential merger, but they're not interested in breaking up the parts of the health system.

Summa Health System – the largest employer in Summit County – says it’s ready for a merger that will help it expand in the face of rising healthcare costs.

The hospital’s board has engaged a consulting firm to help it find partners with which to merge. The health system has weathered several years of controversy, such as a dispute with its ER physicians, and issues with both Wadsworth-Rittman and Cuyahoga Falls Hospitals. But Interim President Dr. Cliff Deveny – who took over 18 months ago -- says those problems have been resolved, and now Summa is operating from a position of strength. Which makes it the perfect time to explore a partnership that will allow them to expand.

“We can double down and add more clinical services, instead of people having to travel. We can expand our academic footprint, as we find it harder and harder to attract certain specialty physicians to this community. We want to be able to train our own.”

Deveny says he expects the search to take 12-18 months, and the board is committed to keeping all parts of the health system together.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.