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January 18, 2024
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Anxiety and anticipation build over Summa Health’s sale to HATCo


– Venture capital company HATCo plans to buy Summa Health and transform it into a model of modern healthcare.
– The sale has both worried and thrilled people in Northeast Ohio, with concerns raised about a loss of healthcare access in a for-profit scenario.

A venture capital company called HATCo is planning to purchase Summa Health and transform it into a model of modern healthcare. The proposed sale has drawn both concern and excitement among residents of Northeast Ohio. Some individuals, such as James Hardy, a councilman for Ward 8 in Akron, are worried about the primary obligation of private equity to investors rather than the local community. Others, like Tom Campanella, a healthcare executive at Baldwin Wallace University, are more optimistic about the potential for improvement at Summa under the leadership of HATCo’s CEO Dr. Marc Harrison.

Hospitals traditionally make money through a fee-for-service model, charging fees for services provided. However, a revolution is underway in the healthcare industry, with some providers moving towards a flat-rate payment system per patient per year. This payment model incentivizes hospitals to keep patients healthy, as they can retain more money if patients require fewer services. Summa Health has already started the transition towards this type of system, and HATCo plans to accelerate this transformation over the next five years. The intention is for Summa to serve as a blueprint for other hospital systems in the US and around the world.

Amidst the proposed changes, feelings among Summa employees are mixed. While some employees may view the transformation positively as an opportunity to be part of a new direction in healthcare, others may express concerns about the changes. However, the restructuring could also attract new healthcare workers to Summa, particularly young and middle-aged individuals seeking opportunities at the forefront of innovation.

Akron’s Ward 5 Councilman Johnnie Hannah believes that the sale of Summa to HATCo offers a way for the hospital system to move forward without job losses, while also providing better healthcare for the Akron community. HATCo has committed to retaining the charity care provided by Summa, and any profits from the sale will be used to support general health in Greater Akron through a community foundation.

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