Half a year after announcing it was seeking a strategic alliance, the nonprofit Good Samaritan Health System in Lebanon County today named York-based WellSpan Health as that prospective partner.
Robert J. Longo, president and CEO of Good Samaritan, said in an interview today with the Business Journal that Good Samaritan sent out 10 letters of interest, got eight back and entertained five proposals.
“This was a very informed decision,” he said. “We felt that this was the biggest decision the hospital will probably ever make as the board, and we needed to look at all avenues including not-for-profit, for-profit, et cetera.”
The organizations now have a memorandum of understanding outlining the goals of the potential affiliation, in which Good Samaritan would become part of WellSpan’s nonprofit system of care. They are as follows:
• 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 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.
The next steps are a period of formal due diligence, the development of a final agreement, and a regulatory review period, which they say 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,” Longo said in a news release. “After a careful search, we found that WellSpan Health offered the best match for our community mission, vision, and values.”
Longo said WellSpan rose to the top for several reasons.
“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,” he said. “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 on Oct. 1, 2013. Although the details of the proposed Good Samaritan and Wellspan affiliation are yet to be determined, Longo and WellSpan President and CEO Dr. Kevin Mosser said they expect it will be much the same as Ephrata’s, with Good Samaritan maintaining its own board and foundation.