WASHINGTON HEALTH SYSTEM AND UPMC SIGN LETTER OF INTENT TO PURSUE AFFILIATION
WASHINGTON, PA, June 20, 2023 – The Boards of Directors of both Washington Health System (WHS) and UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) have signed a non-binding letter of intent to negotiate an affiliation agreement between the two entities that would integrate WHS into the UPMC system. The WHS Board of Directors met on June 1, 2023, and unanimously voted to pursue affiliation discussions with UPMC, a clinically integrated and world-renowned nonprofit health care provider and insurer.
“Our primary focus is to ensure the residents of Washington and Greene Counties have local access to high-quality health care that is sustainable into the future,” said Brook Ward, President and CEO of WHS. “After careful consideration and analysis, we believe the best path forward is to affiliate with UPMC to achieve that goal. We currently have numerous clinical arrangements and joint ventures with UPMC, which have provided our patients with exceptional care over the years. From our experience working with UPMC and knowing their track record of providing outstanding patient care, it was an obvious choice to select UPMC as our partner going forward.”
For the past several decades, WHS and UPMC have collaborated in several areas to deliver high-quality, patient-centered care, including:
- Our joint partnership in local cancer treatment, a collaboration with UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and based at WHS Washington Hospital. This partnership has brought cutting-edge cancer expertise and treatment to the area while eliminating the inconvenience of traveling for care.
- UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Express Care clinic and other specialty clinics, also on the campus of WHS Washington Hospital. These have brought specialty pediatric services to the community and have augmented the physicians and advanced practice providers of the Washington Physicians Group in their mission to provide Great Patient Care.
- UPMC’s Heart and Vascular Institute (HVI) provides vascular surgery services throughout the communities WHS serves.
- Onsite neonatal care provided at every birth by UPMC Children’s Hospital.
- Senior care services provided at Strabane Trails and Strabane Woods.
- OB ultrasounds interpretation services by UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital.
- And, additional partnerships in telestroke, Chartwell specialty pharmacy services and Clinical Connect HIE electronic records.
WHS Washington Hospital was also one of the original members of the UPMC Health Plan when it was launched 26 years ago. This affiliation with UPMC would help ensure continued high-quality care that patients in the WHS community have come to expect over the past several decades.
In late 2022, the WHS Board of Directors submitted a request for proposals to affiliate with a larger health care provider that could enhance the services and clinical offerings of WHS. The Board’s intent in seeking an affiliation was to keep high-quality health care that is sustainable and locally available not only for today, but for the future generations of Washington and Greene Counties.
“The Board and senior leadership of WHS have realized, that in today’s health care environment, we need to consider the long-term stability of our health system to continue to provide the quality health care services our local residents have come to expect. With that goal, we are excited to be able to affiliate with UPMC, a premier integrated health care system, to continue our mission of Great Patient Care,” said Dan Miller, Chairman of WHS Board of Directors.
The signing of the letter of intent means WHS and UPMC have agreed to conditions of affiliation. Over the next several months, both entities will engage in due diligence, research and discussions to work towards a definitive agreement. This affiliation is subject to customary regulatory filings, and WHS and UPMC leaders hope to complete the affiliation as soon as possible. WHS will keep its team members, partners and community members updated as there are developments to share.
About Washington Health System
Employing more than 2,000 highly trained medical professionals, Washington Health System provides health care services centered at its flagship 278 licensed bed hospital in Washington, Pa., and the 49 licensed bed WHS-Greene Hospital in Waynesburg, PA., Greene County. WHS provides clinical care at more than 40 off-site locations throughout three counties. In addition, Washington Health System has diagnostic centers, outpatient care facilities, the Wilfred R. Cameron Wellness Center, and hospice care, all seamlessly working together to provide excellent patient-and-family-centered care. For more information, go to WHS.org.
UPMC is a world-renowned, nonprofit health care provider and insurer committed to delivering exceptional, people-centered care and community services. Headquartered in Pittsburgh and affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, UPMC is shaping the future of health through clinical and technological innovation, research and education. Dedicated to advancing the well-being of our diverse communities, we provide more than $1 billion every year in community benefits, more than any other health system in Pennsylvania. Our 95,000 employees — including more than 5,000 physicians — care for patients across 40 hospitals and 800 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites in Pennsylvania, New York and Maryland, as well as overseas. UPMC Insurance Services covers 4.5 million members with a focus on providing the highest-quality care at the most affordable price. To learn more, visit UPMC.com.
Q: Why will WHS affiliate with UPMC?
WHS leadership and the board of directors’ goal has always been to continue to provide the communities we serve with exceptional health care services that are financially sustainable. Increased financial burdens exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and our need to make capital investments to preserve the future of heath care in our region have led us to determine, after a rigorous process, that UPMC provides us the best viable option for the future. With this historic affiliation, the future of health care in our region will be bright.
WHS chose UPMC based on their track record of providing the highest level of patient care, their demonstrated investment to keep services local, and their commitment to growing – and in many cases, adding — services that are needed in the communities they serve. This affiliation with UPMC will help take us into the future and help to create a new standard for health care in our communities. The residents of Washington and Greene Counties will have access to the life changing medicine that UPMC is known for, and our facility will also become a destination for others from outside of the area seeking medical care.
Q: Will you continue to provide the same services now available at WHS Washington and Greene?
A: Washington Health System intends to continue providing the services currently available as the affiliation process proceeds. As we move forward, WHS and UPMC will continuously evaluate how to meet the health care needs of the community in ways that are financially viable through efficiency, service access, and clinical excellence.
Q: What will happen to my provider’s office?
A: Rest assured that your provider’s office will be open and ready to serve you during and after the transaction process. Please show up to all your scheduled appointment and call us for your yearly screenings.
Following confirmation of the affiliation you will likely see small changes such as the location name(s) and other changes to increase efficiency and expand access to care. You will also have access to the world-renowned services and the expert care of UPMC.
Q: What about my health records?
A: Your health records will stay with you during this process. Nothing will be lost. If anything, you will have increased access to those records at your fingertips through the UPMC patient portal, once the transition is complete.
Q: What will happen with the current WHS patient portals?
A: The current WHS Patient Portal will remain functional and operating, as it does today. You will still have access to your information throughout this process. In the future, we expect that the current portal will be re-branded, and patients will have access to the functionality and the convenient patient options of the UPMC portal such as self-scheduling, messaging a provider, and more.
Q: Is my health insurance going to be accepted?
A: As of now, there is no change in the health insurances that will be accepted at any WHS site of service. Following the affiliation, it is expected that all major insurances will continue to be accepted as they are today.
Q: What will our new name be?
A: As of now there will be no change to the WHS names. Once the affiliation is complete, we will become part of UPMC and our hospital branded names will be “UPMC Washington” and “UPMC Greene”. Practice and outpatient location names will be determined at a later date.
Q: Will this result in local layoffs?
A: As you may know, healthcare companies across the US are all in dire need of staffing. WHS and UPMC have no intentions of layoffs due to the affiliation but no company in healthcare, or any industry, can guarantee this.
One of the main reasons that our Board of Directors chose to affiliate with UPMC was based on their demonstrated record for growing services and expanding care locally. Expanding care locally will require a team of dedicated professionals to make this a reality.
Q: What happens next?
A: As of now, nothing happens until the WHS and UPMC teams finalize their due diligence. This means business as usual as we fulfill our mission of Great Patient Care. You can check back here on this website page for more details.
Q: How does this affiliation affect the public?
A: This affiliation with UPMC will greatly expand the availability of health services in the communities that WHS services. Building on the high-quality services that WHS has been known for, the affiliation with UPMC will bring the world-renowned services and expert care to our communities that residents currently need to drive into Pittsburgh to receive. This affiliation will not only expand services available right here in our own community, but it will also make us a destination for others from the tri-state area that are seeking the expert care of UPMC.