Somerset Hospital officials discuss finances, partnership with UPMC
Somerset Hospital officials announced Thursday that the medical facility had a profitable year in 2018 with more surgeries and heart procedures. They also discussed the impending merger with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
In November, the hospital and UPMC signed a binding integration and affiliation agreement, to be finalized in early 2019. During the hospital’s annual meeting Thursday, officials with Somerset Hospital and UPMC said that the changes will be difficult, but both entities will benefit.
“It’s a moment of relief and excitement,” Somerset Hospital board member Mark Yaros said. “In this environment, you need to do something. This is the best option.”
He said he was happy to see how UPMC improved other community hospitals and gave their local residents access to better, closer health care.
“I truly look forward to what’s going to happen,” Yaros said. “The institution, its board, its medical staff will survive.”
Somerset Hospital CEO Andy Rush said the partnership was a necessity, even though Somerset Hospital did well this year by increasing its number of surgeries and cardiac catheterizations.
The hospital had 813 cardiac catheterizations and 7,407 surgeries in 2018 — the most surgeries since 2010 and an increase of nearly 600 from last year.
Craig Sprock, finance director, said that the hospital was also profitable in 2018 and had more revenues than expenditures. He wasn’t able to provide exact figures but said 2018 was more profitable than 2017. The hospital employs about 500 full-time and 300 part-time employees, and has an expense budget of nearly $80 million and 118 licensed beds.
In 2017, UPMC had total operating revenue of $16 billion. The system includes 80,000 employees, more than 30 hospitals, 600 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, and a 3.4 million-member insurance services division.
One factor that led to the agreement with UPMC, Sprock said, is that hospitals needs great doctors, like its cardiac physicians, but physicians now want to be employed by a hospital rather than be independent. At the same time, employing physicians is expensive, so the partnership with UPMC is meant to help with that.
“You can’t have a hospital without physicians, and independent physicians are going away,” he said. “The model is changing.”
Bob Blosat, UPMC senior vice president of regional network development, said that most patients will be seen at Somerset Hospital, and those who have rare and serious illnesses can be seen at UPMC Mercy in Pittsburgh.
“UPMC is very grateful that Somerset Hospital decided to become part of the health plan,” he said. “I’m excited to be here.”
Somerset Hospital board Chairwoman Krista Mathias said she is excited for the opportunities that the UPMC partnership will provide and the potential for new jobs in the community.
Mathias said she also sees good things from the addition of Conemaugh Health System’s outpatient center in Somerset, which broke ground Wednesday.
“Having more opportunities for health care in our community is a good thing,” she said. “Friendly competition will only benefit the folks who get health care in our region.”