SOMERSET, PA, June 29, 2018 -- The Boards of Directors of both Somerset Hospital and UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) have signed a non-binding letter of intent to negotiate an affiliation agreement between the two entities that would integrate Somerset Hospital into the UPMC system. Somerset’s Board of Directors met on June 28, 2018 and voted to pursue affiliation discussions exclusively with UPMC, a world-renowned health care provider and insurer based in Pittsburgh.
UPMC’s mission is to serve communities by providing outstanding patient care and to shape tomorrow’s health system through clinical and technological innovation, research, and education. “That mission is an outstanding fit for our communities in and around Somerset,” said Krista Mathias, chair of the Somerset Hospital Board. “Our patients deserve nothing less than cutting-edge health care and they should not have to travel far to get it,” she added.
“An affiliation with UPMC will allow a greater opportunity for Somerset Hospital to grow, offer more specialty services to our patients, and provide the care close to their home,” added Andy Rush, CEO of Somerset Hospital.
In addition to scientific innovation, quality health care, and financial bandwidth, UPMC’s focus on its civic connection to the communities it serves captured the Somerset Hospital Board’s attention, according to Mathias. “Our Board was not only looking for a health care system that could benefit our hospital; we also were searching for an engaged community partner,” she said. “UPMC is well-known for strengthening not only the hospitals with which it affiliates, but also the communities those hospitals serve. And although UPMC is one of the nation’s largest and most successful integrated health systems, it is very apparent that the organization prioritizes personalized patient care and community relationships.”
UPMC provides more than $900 million a year in community benefits. The health system integrates more than 30 hospitals, 600 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, and is the largest medical insurer in western Pennsylvania. Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, UPMC’s flagship hospital is consistently ranked on the annual U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals.
“We are thrilled to be working toward an affiliation with Somerset Hospital,” said Leslie C. Davis, senior vice president, UPMC, and executive vice president and chief operating officer, UPMC Health Services Division. “As with all our recent affiliations, we know that Somerset will be successful at sharing our pledge to preserve and expand the high-quality primary and specialty care that is needed in the communities that Somerset has been serving so well for generations.”
In 2017, the Somerset Hospital Board of Directors requested proposals to affiliate with a larger health care system that could enhance opportunities and access in its region. The Board’s objectives for an affiliation were as follows:
1. To bring additional medical services to our community to prevent the need to travel for specialty care;
2. To address significant financial pressures that Somerset, like most small, rural hospitals, is facing;
3. To be supported and led by an innovative and transformational health care system that serves our constituents with groundbreaking and compassionate medical care;
4. To partner with an organization that will enhance the quality of health and life in our community.
“Several potential partners recognized Somerset Hospital’s quality and value and shared their visions for health care in Somerset. Board members and executives spent significant time traveling to the potential partners’ hospitals and evaluating the extent to which those visions would meet our patients’ needs, our community’s culture and our own mission to provide exceptional health care in rural, southwestern Pennsylvania,” Mathias said.
“We have identified UPMC as the health system with the capacity and track record to meet the Board’s original goals and expectations,” Rush said. “UPMC has been very successful in developing the health care services in the hospitals with which the system has affiliated. Our partnership will allow us to meet the challenges we face today and be better prepared for future changes in health care,” he added.
The signing of the letter of intent means that Somerset and UPMC have agreed to conditions of a prospective affiliation. Throughout the next few months, both parties will engage in additional due diligence, research, and discussions to work toward a definitive agreement. While this process is subject to customary regulatory review, hospital leaders hope to complete the affiliation by the end of 2018. Somerset will keep its stakeholders and community updated as there are developments to share.
“We are very excited about the health care and community benefits an affiliation with UPMC would provide and we look forward to continuing our conversations,” Rush added.