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Ephrata Community Hospital, WellSpan Health confirm affiliation plans

Ephrata Community Hospital and WellSpan Health today confirmed affiliation plans first announced last November.

The health care organizations announced that they plan to affiliate Oct. 1, after ore than a year of due diligence by both community boards of directors and senior leaders as well as government reviews. On the same date, longtime WellSpan physician Dr. Kevin H. Mosser will become WellSpan’s president and CEO. He succeeds Bruce M. Bartels, who will retire after 25 years.
According to a news release, the first phase of the integration efforts will focus on the staff and operations of select administrative support functions as well as health care services that are delivered in the physician office and home settings. These transitions will likely occur in the first 24 to 36 months.
John M. Porter Jr., president and CEO of Ephrata Community Hospital, will remain president there Hospital and will immediately join WellSpan’s senior management team as a senior vice president.
Ephrata will continue to be governed by a local board, which will have a formal relationship with the WellSpan board. The Ephrata board will include members of the community as well as representatives from the WellSpan board. WellSpan’s other organizational entities — which include the WellSpan Medical Group, WellSpan Specialty Services, WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital, WellSpan York Hospital and two philanthropic foundations — are governed within this structure.
Ephrata, WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital, WellSpan York Hospital and the WellSpan Surgery & Rehabilitation Hospital will operate under separate licenses and medical staffs. Ephrata has formed a philanthropic foundation, the Ephrata Community Health Foundation, which will cultivate local relationships and raise funds to address the health needs of Lancaster County communities. Community‐based philanthropic foundations also exist in York County and Adams County.
“The American health care system has begun to transform from one that primarily treats individuals when they are sick or injured to one that also manages the health of populations,” Bartels said in a news release. “In response, health care organizations across the country have begun to develop affiliations as a way to offer their communities the highest quality of care at an affordable cost.”
“We share with WellSpan a vision of improving health outcomes, the patient experience and managing costs for all people — whether they are currently healthy, chronically ill or acutely ill,” Porter said. “By working together to improve care at the local level, all of the communities that we serve will benefit.”
The organizations list their goals for aligning their talents and competencies as follows:
• Improve health across Central Pennsylvania while enhancing local systems of care in northern and eastern Lancaster County, Adams County and York County. WellSpan will support the implementation of Ephrata’s long‐range strategic plan, which will enhance access to high‐quality health care in Lancaster County.
• 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 professionals.
Ephrata, formed in 1949 to serve Northern Lancaster County, has grown to provide care to patients from across Lancaster County and neighboring counties through the hospital, 11 outpatient centers, the Ephrata Cancer Center and the 19 practices of the Northern Lancaster County Medical Group. The system also offers Ephrata Community Home Care and EME medical equipment.
Wellspan, based in York Township, is an integrated health system that partners with physicians, other health care organizations and inpatient, outpatient, home health and physician services. According to Business Journal records, its revenues exceeded $1.2 billion in 2012.
Discussions between the two organizations began in spring 2012, they said, and involved senior management and volunteer board leadership.

Heather Stauffer

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