The Good Samaritan Health System and WellSpan Health today announced plans to explore an affiliation that will strengthen community-based health care in Lebanon County. The governing boards for both organizations have approved a Memorandum of Understanding, which outlines the goals of the potential affiliation.
According to Robert J. Longo, president and CEO of Good Samaritan Health System, and WellSpan Health President and CEO Kevin H. Mosser, M.D., the Memorandum of Understanding represents an important step in the evaluation of an arrangement under which Good Samaritan Health System would become part of WellSpan Health’s non-profit system of care. Next steps include a period of formal due diligence, the development of a final agreement, and a regulatory review period, which may conclude as early as the end of 2014
“When we started this process, the Good Samaritan Board of Trustees diligently focused on partnerships that would help Lebanon County residents continue to have access to high-quality health care services right here in our Lebanon communities,” said Longo. “After a careful search, we found that WellSpan Health offered the best match for our community mission, vision, and values.”
According to Mosser, “the American health care system continues to transform from one that primarily treats individuals when they are sick or injured to one that also manages the health of populations. In response, we are creating new and innovative ways to help our neighbors reach their health goals in life while preparing to care for an aging population and address a projected shortage of health professionals.
WellSpan and Good Samaritan will work toward an agreement that supports the following goals:
- Improve health care across Central Pennsylvania while enhancing local systems of care in Lebanon County, Lancaster County, Adams County and York County.
- In an era of health care reform, prepare for the transition from current care models to the new requirements for managing population health and wellness.
- Maintain existing relationships and clinical partnerships with other local health care providers.
- Enhance a model of care the that is based on an individual’s relationship with a primary care physician who coordinates all the care an individual requires across the lifespan.
- Offer stronger medical, nursing and allied health educational resources to address a projected shortage of physicians and health care professionals.
“After careful review of possible affiliation partners, WellSpan rose to the top for several reasons, Longo said. “First, WellSpan has a demonstrated track record of focusing on community needs. For example, the Adams County region now has access to more health care services since Gettysburg Hospital joined WellSpan 14 years ago. Second, WellSpan has been a valued partner to Good Samaritan’s award-winning cardiac program by providing cardiothoracic physician staffing and support for the past five years. Third, we think there will be advantages to having a partner that has a contiguous service area. WellSpan understands our community needs, which are similar to those shared by Ephrata Community Hospital in northern Lancaster County.”
Ephrata Community Hospital became part of WellSpan Health on Oct. 1, 2013.
“Health care organizations across the country have begun to affiliate as a way to offer their communities the highest quality of care at an affordable cost in this dynamic new environment,” Mosser said. “Together with our colleagues at Good Samaritan, we would seek to improve health outcomes and the patient experience while managing costs for all people – whether they are currently healthy, chronically ill or acutely ill.”
“We believe that we have found the best partner for protecting the long-term health of our community,” Longo said. “WellSpan has a clear history of forming partnerships with community hospitals that improve the lives of patients. We are excited about the new opportunities that this alliance will bring to our patients, employees, and medical staff.”
About Good Samaritan Health System
Since 1889, the Good Samaritan Health System (www.gshleb.org) has served the health care needs of Lebanon County. The Good Samaritan Hospital is a modern, fully-equipped, fully-accredited 172-bed acute care facility and the only community hospital in the county. Good Samaritan includes employed physician practices for primary care and certain specialties, diagnostic lab and imaging services, physical therapy, wound care and hyperbaric medicine, home health, hospice, and durable medical goods. Good Samaritan has been named “Top Performer on Key Quality Measures®” by The Joint Commission, honored with the “Excellence in Patient Care” award given by the Studer Group, and earned the Blue Distinction Center+ designation for cardiac care from Highmark Blue Shield. You can learn more by visiting www.gshleb.org.
About WellSpan Health
WellSpan Health is an integrated health system that serves the communities of central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland. The organization is comprised of a multispecialty medical group of more than 660 providers, a home care organization, four respected hospitals, more than 11,000 employees, and 93 patient care locations. WellSpan is consistently recognized by IMS Health as one of the Top 100 Integrated Health Networks in the United States and has been recognized by Health Imaging and IT as one of the nation’s “Top 25 Connected Healthcare Facilities.” IMS Health is the leading provider of information, services and technology for the health care industry.