SSM Health Care Oklahoma, St. Anthony Hospital’s parent company, and Unity Health Care Center officially announced that SSM will acquire Unity effective June 29, this year, ending months of speculation about the sale. It will become St. Anthony Shawnee Hospital.


SSM Health Care Oklahoma, St. Anthony Hospital’s parent company, and Unity Health Care Center officially announced that SSM will acquire Unity effective June 29, this year, ending months of speculation about the sale. It will become St. Anthony Shawnee Hospital.

“We joke that we’ve been engaged for the last 10 years and now the time has come to bring permanence to this relationship,” Chuck Skillings, president and CEO of Unity Health Center, said during the special announcement at OBU’s Raley Chapel Thursday.

Officials from both SSM and Community Health Partners, the company that owns Unity, were on hand to make the announcement to several hundred attendees. A large portion of those in attendance were Unity employees and physicians, who will all retain their jobs through the acquisitions.

“Come July 1, everybody that is working at Unity is going to continue working at Unity, they’re just going to have a different employer,” Skillings said.
Skillings would not speculate on the possibility of SSM hiring additional employees.
SSM CEO Bill Thompson said that Unity shares the mission and values of SSM and the two organizations have a commitment to improve the health care of the communities they serve.

“We look forward and we feel very honored to the fact that Unity has chosen to join us at this time and we look forward to bringing Unity into our system so we can ... work in a way that will continue to improve the health of the citizens of Shawnee,” Thompson said.

The new St. Anthony Shawnee Hospital will offer some new medical services to the community that were previously unavailable, which will prohibit the need for local residents to commute to Oklahoma City for different types of health care.

However, the acquisition will also result in the end of availability of some health care services because of the different Ethical and Religious Directives of SSM, a catholic based entity, Paula Friedman, senior vice president for SSM, said.
The acquisition came about as a result of changing views and demands of the health care community, Unity Board Chair Michelle Briggs said. CHP is a prosperous entity with a significant portfolio and a healthy number of assets, she added.

“Even with our financial strength though, we could see the writing on the wall ... we have agreed to sell the assets of the Unity Health Center to SSM Health Care,” Briggs said. “We know and believe strongly that the health care in our community will continue to be enhanced in ways that possibly we can’t imagine.”

After the acquisition CHP will have assets valued in excess of $100 million and will continue to be a 501(c)3 non-profit charitable purpose entity that intends to expand its purpose “to provide charitable support for the community needs such as health care, education — possibly in the arts and culture,” Briggs said.

The CHP board will stay the same, however, its core purpose will shift from managing a hospital to managing the assets from the sale to SSM, Skillings said.
Although the announcement and signing ceremony was Thursday, CHP will retain control of Unity until June 29, after which SSM will officially own the new St. Anthony Shawnee Hospital.