PITTSBURGH, November 25, 1997 — Memorial Hospital of Bedford County will become part of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, it was announced today by James C. Vreeland, president and chief executive officer, and John R. Blackburn, Jr., chairman of the hospital’s board of directors. This merger will become effective February 1, at which time the hospital’s name will change to UPMC Bedford Memorial. This 59-bed acute-care facility will be the seventh community hospital to become part of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
"This announcement culminates 15 months of planning by our board of directors. At that time, the board understood dramatic changes in the way health care is delivered and financed through managed care would seriously hinder the ability of any community hospital to stand alone. Therefore, negotiations were conducted by members of the medical staff and board to find a system relationship which could best insure the future presence of the hospital in Bedford County. Out of an initial field of seven potential partners, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center was determined to have both the financial ability and access to advanced medical technology that would not only maintain but also enhance the fine services we have provided to the citizens of this area," stated Mr. Vreeland.
"This merger will benefit the community in many ways," stated Mr. Blackburn. "It will enable the purchase of new medical equipment and augment the physician manpower in this area both through recruitment of more primary care physicians and the availability of consulting specialists in new areas," Mr. Blackburn continued.
Some of the clinical areas that will be developed include psychiatric services, cardiology, pulmonary medicine and critical care medicine. Other areas that will be targeted for the future are colo-rectal surgery, geriatrics and reproductive endocrinology.
Mr. Blackburn added that the UPMC and the hospital also will establish a charitable foundation that will fund projects to benefit the health and welfare of this community for future generations.
"The board of directors, medical staff and administration of Memorial Hospital of Bedford County are to be commended on their unified and thoughtful approach in analyzing the current health care environment and making a decision that will insure the continuation of their tradition of providing high quality care," stated Jeffrey Romoff, president of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "We are pleased to welcome UPMC Bedford Memorial to our network of hospitals," concluded Mr. Romoff.
UPMC Bedford Memorial will continue to be locally run and operated. Two-thirds of the board will be from the current board and one-third will be from University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. There will be a Bedford representative on the system board along with medical representation.
There will be no lay-offs and all of the hospital’s 300 employees will eventually become part of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
On November 1, 11 physicians representing nine practices associated with Memorial Hospital of Bedford County also joined University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.