Lancaster General Health plans to join Penn Medicine

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Apr 22, 2015 3:06 AM

Photo by Ben Allen/witf

(Lancaster) -- The midstate's health systems have been changing rapidly - and the latest development involves a visitor from Philadelphia.

No money will change hands under the proposed deal that would put Lancaster General Health under the University of Pennsylvania Health System (also known as Penn Medicine) umbrella.

Lancaster General CEO Thomas Beeman also says no jobs would be affected.

Instead, the University of Pennsylvania Health System would get a couple of seats on Lancaster General's Board of Directors. 

CEO Thomas Beeman says he's confident Penn won't impose its will on the system.

"There's a legal document that guarantees that and there's mechanisms to enforce it. But I'll bet my nickel on the fact that we'll never have to even think about that," he says.

Beeman says Lancaster General didn't feel pressure because of a proposed merger between Penn State Hershey Medical Center and PinnacleHealth, or Holy Spirit Hospital affiliating with Geisinger.

"All of that stuff is happening but we were really focused on what was best for Lancaster General Health. If we had believed that we would be independent, we would have stayed independent. So what they're doing is irrelevant to us," adds Beeman.

Beeman says if the merger gets approval from federal and state regulators, he hopes patients would only notice positive changes, like more advanced and responsive care. 

For example, patients at Lancaster General Hospital will be able to receive treatments for cancer developed by U. Penn health researchers and physicians.

He says Penn Medicine will be able to help control costs better too, using more sophisticated algorithms.

He also says he's confident Lancaster General Health will keep control of its operations.

It's expected to keep the Lancaster General name, though Penn Medicine, or some version of it, may be added.

By revenue, Penn Medicine is about five times bigger than LGH. The two groups formed a strategic alliance in February 2014

A timeline on the deal isn't clear, as other mergers are awaiting a decision from federal and state authorities.

The story has been modified to reflect the preferred name for University of Pennsylvania Health System. It is not U. Penn Health, but Penn Medicine.

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