— Somerset Hospital
and its affiliates and UPMC
(University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) have reached another milestone in their effort to align by co-signing a binding integration and affiliation agreement. The affiliation is expected to be finalized in early 2019, subject to regulatory review and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.
In June of this year, the Boards of Directors of both Somerset Hospital and UPMC 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. Following a months-long due diligence process by Somerset and UPMC, the integration and affiliation agreement approved by Somerset Hospital’s Board of Directors this afternoon is the next step in joining the two entities.
“We are extremely pleased and excited to sign this agreement and join one of the world’s most pioneering and successful integrated health care systems,” said Andy Rush, CEO of Somerset Hospital. “I am very proud of our medical staff and employees for the quality care they have always provided. This affiliation will only enhance their abilities and opportunities to provide world-class care right here in Somerset.”
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 community and region,” 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.
In addition to scientific groundbreaking and award-winning health care, UPMC’s emphasis on community engagement in the regions served by its hospitals caught the Somerset Hospital Board’s attention, according to Mathias. “UPMC’s record of serving its communities is unmatched,” she said, “which was a very important factor in the course of our board’s decision-making.
“UPMC brings a unique combination of groundbreaking science and compassion in its approach to providing excellent health care at its affiliate hospitals. Although there are many more steps remaining in the affiliation process, we are elated to reach this landmark on the road to partnership,” said Mathias.
UPMC is one of the nation’s largest and most successful integrated health systems. As both a provider and insurer, UPMC integrates 40 hospitals, 600 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, and a 3.4 million-member Insurance Services Division, the largest medical insurer in western Pennsylvania. Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside is consistently included on the prestigious U.S. News & World Report annual Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals.
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.
“This affiliation will benefit our patients, physicians, and businesses in so many ways; specifically, by providing access to more specialty health care services, connections to the very latest medical technology, enhanced ability to recruit physicians, increased access to low-cost insurance products, and efficient referrals to tertiary services,” says Rush.
This agreement does not affect patients’ care or insurance coverage. Somerset Hospital will continue to honor the contracts it has in place with regional insurers and has reaffirmed its commitment to continuing to work with multiple payors in the future.
“We are pleased that the outstanding leaders of Somerset Hospital haven chosen UPMC,” said Leslie C. Davis, senior vice president, UPMC, and executive vice president and chief operating officer, UPMC Health Services Division. “UPMC has a long track record of successful affiliations, and we look forward to welcoming Somerset to the UPMC network to extend our shared mission of providing world-class primary and specialty care in more communities close to people’s homes.”
As the organizations move forward into the process, which is subject to customary regulatory review and closing conditions, Somerset Hospital will continue to keep its stakeholders—employees, partnering physicians, local employers, payors and the community—updated as there are developments to share.