JOHNSTOWN, February 19, 1998 — Lee Hospital and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center officials today announced a merger of these two institutions that will significantly enhance the level of service and care available to the people of the Cambria/Somerset region.
"This is a new and exciting beginning for Lee Hospital and the many communities we serve," said David R. Davis, president and CEO of Lee Regional Health System. "UPMC and Lee are two strong organizations that share a common vision for the future of health care delivery in this region, and our joining together will continue to significantly enhance the level of service and care available right here at home."
"We welcome UPMC Lee Regional into our network. Through combining resources, we intend to enhance the already fine services offered by the hospital and its affiliates and ensure that the citizens of the Johnstown area have access to the very latest medical technology and expertise, here in their home community," stated Jeffrey Romoff, president of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
The merger will result in the continued expansion of services, programs and facilities at Lee that began nearly three years ago when the two hospitals signed an affiliation agreement. Several significant enhancements have already been made to raise the level of medical care available here. In 1996, Lee developed the region’s only comprehensive stroke treatment program, utilizing state-of-the-art drug and therapy protocols available exclusively through UPMC. The Cath-Link, sophisticated computer equipment that allows local physicians to consult with UPMC physicians during catheterization procedures, and the Chronic Dialysis Center at Lee are additional care enhancement programs brought about through the affiliation. Late last year, Lee and UPMC made a $4.7 million investment in the region with two new Regional Care Centers designed to provide Ebensburg and Richland area residents with convenient access to diagnostic testing services in addition to the services of primary care physicians and specialists. A third center will open in Davidsville in March of this year. Most recently, the affiliation brought about Lee Hospital’s membership in the Center for Emergency Medicine, a multi-hospital consortium dedicated to the advancement of education and research for pre-hospital care (EMS) personnel.
"This merger will be overwhelmingly positive for the people of this area and the community as a whole," said H. Jay Clark, chairman of Lee Hospital’s board of trustees. "It is consistent with the mission of Lee Regional Health System to provide a continuum of quality health care service with an emphasis on service excellence and cost effectiveness. The addition of programs and facilities through UPMC once again reinforces Lee’s commitment to involvement in and support of this community," he continued.
Under the terms of the merger agreement, Lee Hospital will change its name to UPMC Lee Regional. Building on its 80-year history of local involvement and direction, local control of the hospital will be maintained, with a board of trustees comprised of 2/3 Lee representatives and 1/3 representation from UPMC. Lee will retain its medical staff and administration.
All patient care components of the Lee Regional Health System will become part of UPMC Lee Regional. Those include Lee Hospital, Lee Regional Care Centers, Lee Regional Women’s Health Network, Community Nursing Service and Lee Regional Hospice. The Lee Regional Health System parent company will remain independent and be comprised of the Johnstown Medical Development Corporation, a real estate holding company, Walnut Management Corporation and the Lee Regional Health System Foundation. All Health System Foundation assets will remain with the Foundation for the benefit of the community.
Lee Hospital is the largest employer in the downtown area and the fifth largest in the Cambria/Somerset region with over 1,500 employees. The hospital was founded in 1916 and has provided high quality health care to the people of the Cambria/Somerset region for more than 80 years. The 296-bed hospital and its affiliates became the Lee Regional Health System in 1995, an integrated health care delivery system offering a range of services across the continuum of care. Lee’s 1,507 employees and 173 physicians share the hospital’s commitment to provide high quality, cost effective health care with an emphasis on personal attention and customer satisfaction.
UPMC is western Pennsylvania’s premier academic medical center and ranks among the top 15 facilities in the country in terms of federal funding for research. It enjoys a worldwide reputation for excellence in the provision of a full array of specialty services in areas such as cardiology, transplantation, orthopedic surgery and cancer care. It changed its name to University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in October of 1997 to reflect the development of this institution as an integrated, comprehensive health care delivery system with 12 subsidiaries and 15 affiliate hospitals.