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California Approves Merger Of Two Catholic Hospital Systems

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California has approved the merger of two nonprofit hospital systems affiliated with the Catholic church, officials announced Wednesday.

Dignity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives will become a new company called CommonSpirit Health, the state Department of Justice said. It will operate nearly 140 hospitals in 16 states, including 30 in California.

Operating conditions include programs to help homeless people and other vulnerable populations, according to the Justice Department, which supervises California's charitable organizations.

The new firm will allocate $20 million over six years to coordinate with local charities and city and county social services.

CommonSpirit Health will be required to "preserve the accessibility and availability" of services to communities that have long been served by Dignity Health facilities, according to a release announcing the merger.

In addition, the company must include protections for individuals in need of financial help.

San Francisco-based Dignity announced its intention to merge with Colorado's Catholic Health Initiatives nearly a year ago. The Vatican, through its archbishops in Denver and San Francisco, approved the merger.

The state's approval came after officials attended 17 public meetings across California and considered over 500 written comments, the release said.

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