The boards of directors of Empath Health and Stratum Health System have approved the merger of the two organizations.
The merger will create the largest not-for-profit health system focused on non-acute care and services in the United States, serving more than 6,000 patients a day, a news release said.
The deal was first announced in February, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, Empath and Stratum have worked collaboratively to obtain personal protective equipment, share best practices, and strengthen their overall processes to support their patients and families, the news release said.
Rafael Sciullo, who is president and CEO of Empath Health, will be CEO of the merged organization. Jonathan Fleece, president and CEO of Stratum Health System, will be president. Fleece will become president and CEO after Sciullo retires in January 2023.
Empath Health, headquartered in Clearwater, is an integrated network of care that operates Suncoast Hospice. It also provides home health, palliative, veteran and pediatric care as well as care to aging seniors, clients with HIV/AIDS, families and caregivers.
Stratum Health System, based in Sarasota, manages the continuum of care through hospice and home-based care throughout Southwest Florida. Tidewell Hospice is Stratum’s most recognized brand.
Empath Health/Suncoast Hospice and Stratum Health System/Tidewell Hospice will continue to operate under those respective names, the news release said. The new company that emerges when the organizations merge does not yet have a new corporate name.
The deal still needs final regulatory approval, which is expected in the next few months.