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Empath, Stratum Merger Creates Country's Largest Non-Acute, Nonprofit Health System

Two men, one in a dark blazer and the other in a tan blazer, stand in front of their company signs.
Empath president and CEO Rafael Sciullo will serve as the CEO of the merged companies, and Stratum president and CEO Jonathan Fleece will serve as the president.

The two Florida-based organizations' boards of directors have formally approved the merger, pending regulatory approval.

The Tampa Bay area’s Empath Healthand Southwest Florida's Stratum Health Systemwill be merging in the coming year to create the country’s largest not-for-profit health system providing care for chronic, advanced and terminal illnesses.

Rafael Sciullo, the president and CEO of Empath Health, said the organizations offer complementary services.

"There were services and care that we had, that Stratum did not, and vice versa,” he said. “And in bringing those together, we really created this trajectory between chronic to advanced illness to terminal care and beyond."

The combined organization will serve over 6,000 patients a day, and they expect to expand community programs and hire more employees.

While the organizations’ leaders tout the merger as the country’s largest non-acute, not-for-profit health care system in the country, Jonathan Fleece, the president and CEO of Stratum, said that’s not the point.

"We are really not necessarily coming together simply to be the biggest, we're really coming together to be the best, and to really provide world-class services in all the communities that are so near and dear to us across Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida.”

Sciullo will serve as the CEO and Fleece will serve as the president of the new organization, which has yet to be named.

Sciullo will retire in January 2023. At that time, Fleece will become the president and CEO of the new organization.

Empath Health’s integrated care network supports patients with chronic, advanced and terminal illness in greater Tampa Bay. Its family of services includes Suncoast Hospice.

Stratum Health System is focused on managing the continuum of care through hospice and home-based care throughout Southwest Florida. Tidewell Hospice is Stratum’s most recognized brand.

The health systems will continue to work closely together to obtain the final regulatory approvals, which are expected to occur in the next few months.

Copyright 2021 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7

Daylina Miller is a multimedia reporter for WUSF and Health News Florida, covering health in the Tampa Bay area and across the state.