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​Cole Memorial announced today they have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to integrate Cole Memorial into the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) network with UPMC Susquehanna.

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COUDERSPORT, Pa., (June 20, 2017) – UPMC Susquehanna, integrated with UPMC in October 2016, will provide management services to what would become UPMC Cole. UPMC Susquehanna’s close geographic distance to Cole and historical working relationship will allow for a seamless evolution.
Cole Memorial is no stranger to UPMC. For almost 10 years they’ve partnered with UPMC Hamot in Erie for cardiology services, shared clinical education and cardiologists through Medicor Associates. After a careful analysis and many mission-focused meetings, board members and leaders are  now conducting further discussions with UPMC and continuing the due diligence process to work toward a definitive affiliation agreement.
The LOI, recently approved by UPMC and Cole Memorial board members, enables Cole Memorial to provide the community with the specialty expertise and resources of UPMC, a world-class academic medical center and integrated health care delivery and finance system currently ranked No. 12 on the prestigious U.S. News & World Report annual Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals.
“This is an exciting day for Cole Memorial, our staff, physicians and patients,” said Cole Memorial’s President and CEO Ed Pitchford. “As part of UPMC, we will be able to strengthen our health system for the future, keep vital medical services in our communities and preserve jobs. We will also have wonderful new opportunities to advance health care throughout northcentral Pennsylvania, improving the health and wellbeing of people in the communities we serve. We are thrilled with our selection of UPMC. Together, we have great opportunities to transform how health care is delivered in this region and strengthen the network of medical services provided here for generations to come.”
As part of the signed agreement, UPMC would seek the ongoing input, advice and direction from the regional Cole Memorial Board of Directors and support Cole’s outstanding debts and make ongoing investments of at least $27.5 million dollars over the next seven years including a complete upgrade to Cole’s information technology platforms. Future gifts and grants to the Cole Foundation or directly to Cole would supplement those minimum investments. In addition, UPMC would assist with recruiting efforts and deploy various technologies to keep Cole modern and efficient going forward. Cole would also lower its costs by being able to capitalize on UPMC’s resources and capabilities.
UPMC Susquehanna President & CEO Steven P. Johnson said, “The people of Potter County and neighboring counties benefit by being part of a network committed to advancing care and growing services. UPMC is one of the nation’s pre-eminent academic medical centers and above all, it is a compatible fit to Cole’s patient-centered culture. UPMC Susquehanna is energized to move forward together with UPMC Cole to provide advanced and compassionate care to northcentral Pennsylvania.”
The affiliation agreement is contingent upon a due diligence period and regulatory approvals. Due diligence includes a thorough review of key areas such as operations, finances, capital expenditures, physician arrangements, contractual commitments, quality reports, performance measures and more. The process is expected to be fully complete before winter of 2017.