The strategic planning process, in part, came in response to the challenges health care systems across the country face, including increasing capital needs, reimbursement cuts and changing patient volumes, as well as a desire to position Conemaugh for population health management in this new era of health care. Given these factors, Conemaugh's board recognized that the time is now to evolve and ensure the long-term success of the health system.
"By doing this now - while we are financially strong - we are taking our future into our own hands and creating a stronger health system for our region," Vickroy said. "Our board and leadership have worked hard to determine what the ideal future looks like for us and for health care in our region. We have evaluated our choices from a position of strength, and believe our relationship with Duke LifePoint will only accelerate what we hope to achieve."
The Conemaugh board worked with health care-specialized investment banking firm Juniper Advisory to review several possible health system affiliates. The board evaluated these organizations against a lengthy set of criteria, including their ability to expand clinical services, grow educational efforts, invest in the West Central Pennsylvania region, and make sure that patients in the area have access to excellent, affordable care for years to come.
"We were impressed by the interest in our organization and in our community by sophisticated, highly respected organizations that truly marveled at what we've created here at Conemaugh" said Scott A. Becker, chief executive officer of Conemaugh Health System. "This is a significant tribute to our employees, physicians and our board. "This partnership marks a new era of health care for our region, and we could not be more excited about the future."
Duke LifePoint was formed with the vision of building a strong network of community hospitals and regional medical centers that will be strengthened through enhanced quality and safety programs and operational excellence. The company draws on Duke University Health System's top-ranked patient safety, quality and education programs and LifePoint's financial and operational resources and expertise. Conemaugh will be the largest health care system in Duke LifePoint's network of health systems.