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UPMC Commits to Invest $90 Million Over First Five Years at UPMC Western Maryland

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Ed DeWitt

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CUMBERLAND, Md. – UPMC corporate executives joined UPMC Western Maryland executives, staff, elected officials and local community leaders Thursday afternoon to celebrate the integration that officially took place earlier this month. 


In front of hundreds who attended the celebration, Leslie Davis, UPMC senior vice president, and executive vice president and chief operating officer of UPMC Health Services Division, announced a $90 million investment to enhance services and facilities at UPMC Western Maryland. 


“You have a proud history here of caring for your community and putting patients first, and we are so happy that you chose UPMC to carry on that service excellence and together bring a new level of innovation and advanced care to this region,” she said.


“Having worked closely with your executive and clinical leaders during our clinical affiliation, we know how strongly dedicated you are to your hospital, your patients, your employees and your community, and we are very proud of that and excited to celebrate with you today.


“UPMC is known for reinvention and innovation so that we can best serve our patients and health plan members, communities and employees. Our shared passion for excellence will drive the UPMC Experience for all. Western Maryland is an organization and community that embodies the values of UPMC, and I am thrilled to be here today to welcome you into our UPMC family.”


UPMC Western Maryland President Barry Ronan called the integration historic.


“Back in 2016, the Western Maryland Health System (WMHS) Board of Directors requested proposals to affiliate with a larger health system that would help preserve health care in the western Maryland region for years to come. 


“As we explored all our options and did our research, it became clear that UPMC was the perfect fit for us. I could not be more excited and proud of our board and our hospital leaders for having the clear vision, steadfast commitment and dedication to take care of our community and region for generations to come.


“As the evidence of the $90 million investment begins to take shape, we will continue to evaluate the best ways to meet the needs of our patients and community. We’ve been talking for a long time now about how this integration would strengthen our abilities and opportunities to provide world-class care right here in Cumberland. Now, we can actually begin doing that.” 


UPMC Western Maryland Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Nancy Adams spoke on what the integration will mean for clinical specialties. 


“This integration will provide so much for our community. Not only does this mean an increase of clinical specialties we will be able to offer here in western Maryland, it also expands our already robust oncology expertise through our connection to the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center — and our ability to serve our behavioral health patients, just to name a few examples,” she said. 


Dr. John Pappas, who serves as the president of the UMPC Western Maryland medical staff — and serves on the Board of Directors — spoke about the access to UPMC’s vast innovative resources and clinical and scientific expertise. 


“On behalf of our medical staff, I can tell you that every single one of us is deeply dedicated to providing the very best care for our patients,” he said. “Providing cutting-edge care in a rural hospital setting has become quite challenging in today’s health care environment. We are excited to grow mutually beneficial relationships with UPMC and be part of UPMC’s innovative programs and integrated network of services.


“We all will work together to expand both primary care and specialty care access. This is a very exciting time for everyone involved in this new relationship, and our patients and their families will enjoy the benefits for years to come.”


The integration marks the completion of a process that began with initial conversations as far back as 2015. In 2018, WMHS and UPMC joined together in a clinical affiliation to work cooperatively to enhance health care services and to strengthen the delivery of quality care, transform care delivery and reduce the total cost of providing care in the community. 


In March 2019, the Boards of Directors of both WMHS and UPMC signed a non-binding letter of intent to negotiate an affiliation agreement. Following a nine-month regulatory review and due diligence process by WMHS and UPMC, the Boards co-signed a binding integration and affiliation agreement on January 15, 2020, setting February 1, as the target date for finalizing the affiliation. 


The initial five-year $90 million dollar investment by UPMC, along with investments that the WMHS Foundation has made and continues to make, will help ensure that UPMC Western Maryland will continue to provide state-of-the-art, quality health care for residents, as well as maintaining its position as one of the largest employers in the region for years to come.