Our Acquisition of Summa Health

Coming Together To Transform Healthcare
January 17, 2024
min read

It is often said that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing and expect a different outcome.

By that measure, many of the previous, well intentioned but ultimately failed efforts to transform our healthcare system have been ‘insane’. We at GC have long advocated for a fundamentally different approach to yield a fundamentally different and better outcome… one that helps to realize the promise of health assurance – care that is more proactive, accessible, and affordable to people everywhere.

We’ve been on a long journey with many important milestones along the way… the publishing of our health assurance thesis in 2019, our growing partnership with (now) over 20+ healthcare systems, and our engagement with some of the most admired innovators and leaders in the healthcare space. Back in October, we announced the formation of a new business: our Health Assurance Transformation Corporation, or HATCo, for short. HATCo’s charter is to help healthcare systems everywhere deliver a fundamentally better experience for consumers – and to prove the transformative effect of a true partnership between technologists, caregivers, and capital. At the outset, HATCo had three areas of focus: 1) to work with our health system partners to help them develop and execute their transformation journey; 2) to help catalyze the health assurance ecosystem, building an interoperability model with technology solutions including a subset of our health care portfolio companies to drive this transformation; and 3)  to acquire and operate a health system for the long term where we can demonstrate the blueprint of this transformation for the rest of the industry.

Today, we are one step closer to realizing that last part of our vision. We are delighted to announce that HATCo has signed a letter of intent to acquire Summa Health, in what we hope is only the beginning of HATCo and Summa Health’s long-term journey together to reshape and improve the future of healthcare delivery. 

Summa Health is one of the largest integrated delivery systems in Ohio. For over 130 years, Summa Health has served a diverse and changing community that is representative of the broader healthcare population. Under the leadership of CEO Dr. Cliff Deveny, Summa Health has navigated several seismic industry shifts (both pre- and post-Covid) and the business is on an impressive upward trajectory – resulting in both sound financial performance AND enhanced access to quality care for their communities. Amidst an ever evolving and challenging healthcare landscape (where ongoing changes in reimbursement, pay structure, and payer mix, as well as rising supply and operational costs will continue to affect the bottom line of all systems), HATCo and Summa Health leadership have a clear understanding of Summa Health’s future path to growth, vitality, service, and continued success. We believe HATCo’s investment into Summa Health will drive not only near-term benefit to the organization and the patients it serves but also sustainable, long-term transformation through a true shift to value-based care and access to new revenue streams, resources, innovations, and technologies. 

Our intent is to build on and augment the system’s considerable strengths. First and foremost, we share Summa Health’s commitment to serving all members of the community.  Both organizations have pledged to expand access and deliver health and wellness collaboratively, compassionately, and courageously – for all people and with emphasis among vulnerable and underserved populations. Summa Health has also demonstrated excellence via its integrated delivery network, including SummaCare, which is integral and will remain so. The Summa Health team also shares our belief that achieving healthcare transformation will require a shift to value-based care, and has already begun to make that transition. Together, we intend to demonstrate that a model that is better for patients can also be good for business, creating a blueprint for other health systems to effectively serve all people in their communities.

We understand that this may be mischaracterized as another ‘private equity’ deal.  But it’s important to realize that this is a fundamentally different kind of partnership and approach in several ways: 

  • The focus isn't on taking costs out ... it's on putting innovation in (we intend to build modern, tech-enabled healthcare delivery platforms at scale, across all points of care)
  • We are operating over longer time horizons – this is not a quick flip but a long-term commitment to transformation that benefits the community
  • We have a deeply expert and empathetic leadership team... people who understand the opportunities and challenges of delivering care first-hand.
  • We lead with a ‘people first/patient first’ mantra ... where the overriding goal is to positively transform the patient experience, believing that starting there will have the greatest transformational effect.
  • We have an unwavering, shared commitment to the principles of health assurance – making care more proactive, accessible, and affordable for all people, everywhere.
  • Finally, this is not an isolated transaction but part of a broader engagement strategy with our wider healthcare ecosystem – innovators and system partners who will collaborate and share best practices... and in which Summa Health’s progress can be an innovation beacon for the rest of the industry.

We are grateful to Cliff, Ben, the extended Summa Health leadership team, George and the Board of Directors for placing their trust in us…a responsibility and privilege we do not take lightly. We are also grateful to the HATCo team–Daryl Tol, Josette Beran, Harish Battu, Molly Blaauw Gillis, Joey Chan, Michelle Chin, Natalie Myers, Reva Nohria, and Pranay Orugunta – as well as the extended GC partnership whose immense talents and tireless efforts have helped make this bold aspiration a reality.

It is our continued belief that realizing our health assurance vision will require deep partnership between innovative companies that embrace a technology-driven, change-the-world mindset and the experience, empathy, and vision of enlightened health system leaders. We are excited to embark on this journey with Summa Health to demonstrate together that healthcare systems can and should be vibrant businesses and vital community ecosystems that not only survive, but thrive in today’s environment.