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Western Maryland Health System Joins UPMC, Becoming UPMC Western Maryland

February 4th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

Cumberland, Maryland (February 3, 2020) – Western Maryland Health System officially has become UPMC Western Maryland, merging into the UPMC hospital network to ensure a future of high-quality patient care for communities in western Maryland and the surrounding region for generations to come.

“We are extremely pleased that our health system has joined one of the nation’s largest and most successful integrated healthcare providers and insurers,” said Barry P. Ronan, WMHS President and CEO. “Becoming part of UPMC will allow us to further enhance healthcare services, leverage UPMC’s innovation and clinical expertise, advance quality initiatives and continue our long-standing commitment to provide superior, compassionate care to patients throughout our tri-state service region.”

“The integration of Western Maryland Health System and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center will provide more resources for Allegany and Garrett Counties and the surrounding region," said Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. "As a leader in value-based care delivery, this partnership will strengthen Western Maryland Health System's reputation as a destination for high quality healthcare.”   

In 2018, WMHS and UPMC joined together in a clinical affiliation to work cooperatively to enhance healthcare services and to strengthen the delivery of quality care, transform care delivery and reduce the total cost of providing care in the community. In March 2019, the Boards of Directors of both WMHS and UPMC signed a non-binding letter of intent to negotiate an affiliation agreement. Following a nine-month regulatory review and due diligence process by WMHS and UPMC, the Boards co-signed a binding integration and affiliation agreement on January 15, 2020, setting February 1, as the target date for finalizing the affiliation.

“Throughout our research and discussions with UPMC, we became increasingly confident and excited about becoming part of a world-class academic medical center which shares our vision for providing quality patient care,” said Rolf Haarstad, chair of the WMHS Board of Directors. “Our mutual mission is to continue to bring cutting-edge, evidence-based medicine to patients close to home.”

“UPMC has a long, successful track record of affiliations with like-minded hospitals. We know how much this hospital means to the region, and we are thrilled that WMHS has chosen to join UPMC,” said Leslie C. Davis, senior vice president, UPMC, and executive vice president and chief operating officer, UPMC Health Services Division.

UPMC has committed to make certain capital investments to enhance services and upgrade facilities in the Western Maryland region. These investments by UPMC, along with investments that the WMHS Foundation has made and continues to make, will help ensure that UPMC Western Maryland will continue to provide state-of-the-art, quality healthcare for residents as well as maintaining its position as one of the largest employers in the region for years to come.

The new affiliation does not affect patients’ insurance coverage. UPMC Western Maryland will continue to honor the contracts it has in place with regional and national insurers and has reaffirmed its commitment to continue working with multiple payors in the future.

The board of UPMC Western Maryland consists of 12 directors, including 8 appointed by the current WMHS board and 4 designated by the UPMC board. 

About UPMC

A $20 billion health care provider and insurer, Pittsburgh-based UPMC is inventing new models of patient-centered, cost-effective, accountable care. The largest nongovernmental employer in Pennsylvania, UPMC integrates 89,000 employees, 40 hospitals, 700 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, and a nearly 3.6 million-member Insurance Services Division, the largest medical insurer in western Pennsylvania. In the most recent fiscal year, UPMC contributed $1.2 billion in benefits to its communities, including more care to the region’s most vulnerable citizens than any other health care institution, and paid $587 million in federal, state and local taxes. Working in close collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, UPMC shares its clinical, managerial and technological skills worldwide through its innovation and commercialization arm, UPMC Enterprises, and through UPMC International. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside on its annual Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. For more information, go to UPMC.com.

4 Responses to “Western Maryland Health System Joins UPMC, Becoming UPMC Western Maryland”

  1. February 03, 2020 at 11:44 am, mac said:

    What exciting news!
    How long will it take before some of the more specialized testing and surgical needs will become outsourced to UPMC and not handled locally?
    When Sacred Heart and Memorial hospitals became WMHS many jobs were lost due to consolidation.
    There will be a continuing loss of the medical necessities that are expected of a large hospital and these will be outsourced to UPMC.
    More jobs will become redundant as billing and insurance offices are moved to UPMC offices.
    WMHS/UPMC will be great for the bottom line but another hurdle to clear when expecting quality, local healthcare.

    Reply

    • February 03, 2020 at 6:11 pm, LRH said:

      > WMHS has been more about the bottom line than the community for a long time now. Exciting and good news for who exactly? This announcement is similar to the old adage about peeing on my leg and telling me it is just rain.

      Reply

    • February 04, 2020 at 9:28 am, Jay said:

      This is not surprising. We have a shrinking and aging population, a diminishing tax base, and the median income is among the lowest in the nation. Consolidation of services has been a way of life in this area for nearly 4 decades. The WMHS was fortunate to find a world-class partner like UPMC.

      Reply

  2. February 03, 2020 at 12:01 pm, Joe Wellberg said:

    I can admire one thing. At least UPMC won’t be closing WMHS. It would be nice if UPMC would build another hospital in Frostburg or at least turn the current Nursing home in Frostburg back into a hospital and build another Nursing home.

    Reply

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