BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Feb. 28, 2020)--Florida companies Empath Health and Stratum Health System announced that they have entered into formal discussions to merge. Combining would bring together two integrated networks of care while preserving their charitable missions of not-for-profit hospice, home care and community-based services. The new organization will care for more than 6,000 people a day. 

“This is an exciting and historic day as we move forward, together, to provide trusted, integrated care solutions for those lives for whom we are blessed to care, including the tremendous support we provide to our patients’ families and our communities,” said Empath Health President and CEO Rafael Sciullo.

“Empath and Stratum both independently operate in good business and financial health, but must plan for the future,” said Stratum President and CEO Jonathan Fleece. “The combined organization will have the scale, breadth and capabilities to compete more effectively as the healthcare 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.”

Empath Health’s integrated care network supports patients with chronic or advanced illness in the greater Tampa Bay, Florida, area. Its family of services includes Suncoast Hospice. Stratum Health System is focused on managing the continuum of care through hospice and home-based care servicing Southwest Florida. Tidewell Hospice is Stratum’s most recognized brand. 

Key highlights of the merger include:

  • Development of a comprehensive integration plan bringing the two organizations together. The plan will be carefully thought out and evaluated with a full integration date of January 2023.
  • Sciullo will serve as the CEO and Fleece will serve as president of the as yet unnamed new organization.
  • Sciullo has announced his plans to retire in January 2020 when the integration reaches its final milestone; at that time, Fleece will become president and CEO.
  • The first milestone will be the establishment of the Mission Services Organization (MSO), the first team of professionals brought under the new organization. The MSO will provide shared services across the organization in the most efficient manner and provide a foundation to build integrated care services.  This includes, but is not limited to, innovation, technology, finance, human resources, quality and compliance. It is anticipated that the MSO will launch in 2020.
  • Empath Health/Suncoast Hospice, Stratum Health System/Tidewell Hospice and all affiliated organizations will continue to operate under those respective names for now.

The merger has no direct impact on patients and their families, volunteers, donors, referral sources or the Boards of Directors of the current organizations at this time.