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Somerset Hospital moving forward with UPMC affiliation

November 2, 2018

Somerset Hospital has forged a stronger bond with a Steel City medical center, it was announced Thursday.

The hospital and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have signed a binding integration and affiliation agreement. The hospital board approved the agreement Thursday afternoon, according to Krista Mathias, board chairwoman.

UPMC’s mission “is an outstanding fit for our community and region,” Mathias said in a press release. “Our patients deserve nothing less than cutting-edge health care and they should not have to travel far to get it.”

It was “UPMC’s emphasis on community engagement in the regions served by its hospitals (that) caught the Somerset Hospital Board’s attention,” she said. “UPMC’s record of serving its communities is unmatched.”

The affiliation is expected to be finalized in early 2019, subject to regulatory review and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, according to the hospital.

The affiliation would integrate Somerset Hospital into the UPMC system, which already boasts 40 hospitals, 600 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, and 85,000 employees, plus a 3.4 million-member insurance division. The release makes no mention of any employment changes related to the move.

The hospital said the agreement does not affect patients’ care or insurance coverage.

“Somerset Hospital will continue to honor the contracts it has in place with regional insurers and has reaffirmed its commitment to continuing to work with multiple payors in the future,” the release states.

In 2017 Somerset Hospital sent a request for proposals to affiliate with a larger health care system. In June, the boards of directors for UPMC and the hospital signed a nonbinding letter of intent to negotiate an affiliation agreement. The hospital’s board decided at that time to pursue discussions exclusively with UPMC.

UPMC has the capacity and track record to meet the hospital board’s mission, goals and expectations, according to Somerset Hospital CEO Andy Rush.

“We are extremely pleased and excited to sign this agreement and join one of the world’s most pioneering and successful integrated health care systems,” Rush said in the release. “I am very proud of our medical staff and employees for the quality of care they have always provided. This affiliation will only enhance their abilities and opportunities to provide world-class care right here in Somerset.”

Somerset Hospital opened in 1921 as an independent medical facility. The hospital has 111 licensed beds, a staff of more than 800 and total annual revenue of about $68 million.