BayCare Begins Next Chapter

July 01, 2024
Office buildings with the BayCare name and logo, and blue tinted windows. In the foreground is a lake.
BayCare is a leading not-for-profit health care system that connects individuals and families to a wide range of services at 16 hospitals, including a children’s hospital, and hundreds of other convenient locations throughout the Tampa Bay and central Florida regions.


BayCare announced today that it has established a new corporate legal structure to ensure that not-for-profit health care remains local and accessible for the communities of West Central Florida. Under the new legal structure, all of the health system’s hospitals and health care facilities and services are now fully and legally part of BayCare.  

The new structure, which went into effect on June 30, replaces the 50-year joint operating agreement (JOA), which several local hospitals signed in 1997 to create BayCare, with a simplified corporate legal structure that mirrors current operations and has no end date. The new structure does not impact patients, team members, physicians, payors or vendors. BayCare remains not-for-profit, and its Catholic hospitals retain their Catholic identity. 

“We are building on the smart decisions of our founders so that we continue to improve the health of all we serve for decades to come,” said Jim Cantonis, chair of the BayCare Board of Trustees. “This region’s health care remains better and more accessible because of the decisions those founders made to ensure high-quality, compassionate care would continue to serve West Central Florida.” 

BayCare has thrived under the JOA, growing into the region’s leading health care provider and one of its largest private employers, with 32,000 team members serving 16 hospitals and hundreds of other locations. Its founding members -- the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, Morton Plant Mease Health Care and South Florida Baptist Hospital -- ensured BayCare remained committed to its communities’ health. BayCare dedicates 10% of its revenues annually to charity care and community services, known as Community Benefit.  

“This change to our organization’s corporate legal structure, along with our clinical excellence and sound financial standing, places BayCare in the best position to determine its own future and the future of health care in the communities we serve,” said BayCare President and CEO Stephanie Conners. “Our strong position is because of the support of our BayCare Board members, hospitals, team members, physicians, donors and community. We are deeply grateful and are excited to continue our mission of improving the health of all we serve with high-quality, compassionate care.” 

BayCare’s primary footprint spans Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk counties. Over the years, the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, who founded St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg and the St. Joseph’s hospitals in Hillsborough County, transitioned their member interest in BayCare’s JOA to Trinity Health, a large Catholic health care system based in Michigan. The other two founding members have remained local: Morton Plant Mease Health Care is based in Clearwater; South Florida Baptist Hospital is in Plant City. 

The new structure allows BayCare to enhance operational effectiveness, improve patient access, meet changing community needs, and build upon its strong framework of Community Benefit and comprehensive health care. 

“BayCare remains committed to being the best place to work, receive and provide care,” Conners said. “This new structure helps us deliver on that vision for decades to come for our communities.” 

As part of the new structure, all hospitals and any other facilities previously owned by the members were transferred to BayCare, including: 

  • South Florida Baptist Hospital in Plant City. 
  • Morton Plant Mease hospitals: Morton Plant in Clearwater and Mease Countryside in Safety Harbor; Mease Dunedin in Dunedin; and Morton Plant North Bay in New Port Richey. 
  • The former Trinity Health hospitals retain their Catholic identity: St. Anthony’s in St. Petersburg; St. Joseph’s, St. Joseph’s Children’s and St. Joseph’s Women’s in Tampa; St. Joseph’s-North in Lutz, and St. Joseph’s-South in Riverview. 

BayCare Health System also includes the following facilities and services: Bartow Regional Medical Center; BayCare Hospital Wesley Chapel; Winter Haven Hospital; Winter Haven Women’s Hospital; BayCare Medical Group; ambulatory services, including surgery centers, outpatient imaging, laboratories, BayCare Urgent Care and BayCare HomeCare; and behavioral health services. BayCare also operates a Medicare Advantage plan, BayCarePlus.  

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