Mercy Health System, the Conshohocken-based health care ministry of the Sisters of Mercy, will sell Mercy Suburban Hospital in East Norriton to a national for-profit hospital group, it was announced March 2.

Prime Healthcare Services will invest $30 million in improvements for the hospital over five years after the sale closes, which is expected in about six months.

Mercy’s walk-in health care centers including Mercy Health Center at Plymouth Meeting Mall and related physician practices are also part of the sale.


At the completion of the sale, the 126-bed Mercy Suburban will no longer operate as a Catholic hospital, have a Catholic affiliation or use the Mercy name.

Prime Healthcare has agreed to continue a “charity care policy” — treatment for patients without the ability to pay for services — equal to Mercy Suburban’s current policy.

“We engaged in a process to thoroughly evaluate possible options for Mercy Suburban Hospital and ultimately determined that both Mercy and Prime Healthcare shared a common vision for the future of the hospital that was in the best interest of its patients, colleagues and community,” said Susan Croushore, interim president and CEO of Mercy Health System, in a statement. “Prime Healthcare has a successful track record of sustaining and advancing access to quality health care services through its acquired hospitals, which importantly includes the provision of charity care and other community benefits.”

Begun in 1944, Mercy Suburban Hospital has recently faced competition with the 2013 opening of Einstein Medical Center Montgomery in East Norriton. Mercy Health System will still operate Nazareth Hospital in Northeast Philadelphia, Mercy Hospital in West Philadelphia and Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Delaware County, as well as four smaller clinics and a home health practice in the region.

After Mercy Suburban’s sale, no general Catholic hospitals will exist in central Montgomery County. Holy Redeemer Hospital operates in Meadowbrook, eastern Montgomery County.

“We are excited for the opportunity to acquire Mercy Suburban Hospital and look forward to enhancing its services to the Montgomery County community,” said Dr. Prem Reddy, chairman, president and CEO of Prime Healthcare. “We are committed to making hospitals successful by strengthening, building, investing and improving their programs and facilities. Prime Healthcare’s mission is to turn hospitals into thriving community assets which provide access to quality healthcare for the benefit of the community they serve.”

In addition to its hospitals Mercy Health System runs home health care, several wellness centers, 250 physician practices, a federal PACE program and co-owns a managed care plan, Gateway Health Plan.

Prime Healthcare operates 32 acute-care hospitals in nine states and is based in Ontario, California.