CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Summit Health and WellSpan Health have announced plans to pursue an affiliation that would enhance community-based health care across Central Pennsylvania and within Franklin County and its surrounding communities.
The governing boards for both organizations have approved a Memorandum of Understanding, a non-binding document which establishes a framework for a definitive agreement and outlines the goals of the potential affiliation, under which Summit Health would become a part of WellSpan Health’s nonprofit, community-based system of care, according to Patrick O’Donnell, president and CEO of Summit Health, and Kevin Mosser, M.D., president and CEO of WellSpan Health.
According to O’Donnell, Summit Health has been serving the Franklin County community for more than 125 years.
“We are excited to announce today that we have found a partner that believes in our vision of ‘Local, Comprehensive Care; Inspiring Hope for a Healthier Life,’ as much as we do, and a partner who will help to take us to the next level,” explained O’Donnell.
Both leaders noted that the next steps include a period of formal due diligence, the development of a definitive agreement, and regulatory review. Mosser noted that the proposed affiliation would bring together the talents of the leaders and clinicians of Summit Health and WellSpan Health to improve health across Central Pennsylvania while maintaining and enhancing the local system of health care in Franklin County and surrounding communities.
“Health care across our nation – including here in Central Pennsylvania – continues to evolve into a system that not only treats people when they’re sick or injured but also partners with individuals and families to keep them healthy and to improve the overall health of communities,” Mosser said. “In response to this transformation, affiliations and partnerships have increasingly become an effective approach for health care organizations to share best practices, achieve economies of scale and – ultimately –enhance quality and affordability.”
Mosser and O’Donnell noted that Summit Health and WellSpan Health share a vision of transforming health care by improving health outcomes and the patient experience while managing costs.
Specifically, Summit Health and WellSpan Health will work to develop an affiliation that supports the following goals:
- Strengthens a model of care that is based on an individual’s relationship with a primary care physician and coordinates all the care an individual requires across the lifespan.
- Provides an opportunity to share best practices in quality improvement, care redesign, chronic disease management and patient experience.
- Builds upon Summit Health’s strong reputation as a provider of high-quality, local clinical care and a trusted nonprofit community partner.
- Trains and recruits more physicians, advanced practice clinicians, nurses and other essential care providers to Franklin County and surrounding communities in order to address a projected shortage of physicians and health care professionals.
- Invests in new services, facilities and technology for the long-term health of residents in Franklin County and surrounding communities.
- Supports Summit Health’s passionate commitment to the physical and economic health of Franklin County and surrounding communities.
- Provides enhanced opportunities for effective population health management and value-based contracting to meet the needs of patients and payors.
O’Donnell and Mosser pointed out that Summit Health and WellSpan Health have enjoyed a longstanding relationship, which has included collaboration in Central Pennsylvania Alliance Laboratory (CPAL), a regional reference laboratory; and Quest Behavioral Health, a behavioral health managed care organization. For the past several years, Summit Health and WellSpan Health have worked together to provide residents in Franklin County and surrounding communities with local access to various specialty care services, including radiation oncology, neurology, tele-stroke and perinatology. Both health systems are charitable, nonprofit organizations.
“We share similar community-based missions and values, and an abiding commitment to partnering with other health care providers and organizations to improve the health of the communities we serve,” O’Donnell said.
Both organizations have taken strategic measures to increase the level of quality care, enhance the overall health of the communities they serve, and increase convenience through a network of ambulatory services. Both organizations have also built positive relationships with their communities’ physicians and are committed to establishing new and innovative ways to connect with physicians and other providers of care in the future.
“We have a tremendous amount of respect for Summit Health,” Mosser said. “Through its dedicated network of physicians and caregivers – and its unwavering commitment to delivering compassionate, patient-centered and community-based care – Summit Health continues to be a valuable resource in Franklin County. We are excited about the new opportunities this affiliation could bring to further enhance care for the patients and communities we serve throughout Central Pennsylvania.”
About Summit Health
Summit Health is a nonprofit health system that is dedicated to building a healthier community. As Franklin County's leading healthcare provider, Summit Health operates two award-winning hospitals in Chambersburg and Waynesboro, 33 outpatient specialty and primary-care practices throughout Franklin County, lab and imaging services, a fitness center, and two walk-in care centers. Visit SummitHealth.org.
About WellSpan Health
WellSpan Health is an integrated health system that serves the communities of central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland. The organization is comprised of a multispecialty medical group of which includes physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a regional behavioral health organization, a home care organization, six respected hospitals, more than 15,000 employees, and more than 140 patient care locations. WellSpan is a charitable, mission-driven organization, committed to exceptional care for all, lifelong wellness and healthy communities. Visit WellSpan.org.