The hospital merger wave continued to wash through Pennsylvania last week as several affiliations are being transformed into outright mergers.
The board of historic Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, the nation's first hospital, approved a full-blown merger with University of Pennsylvania Health System, also in Philadelphia.
That represents a dramatic acceleration of the terms of a complex affiliation arrangement reached last year that called for a gradual integration of services over two to five years.
In essence, the board said, "as long as it's going to be a de facto merger in two or three years, let's make it official now," said John Ball, M.D., Pennsylvania Hospital's president and chief executive officer.
The 739-bed Pennsylvania Hospital would become a subsidiary under the direct control of UPHS. Still subject to approval by the UPHS and University of Pennsylvania boards, the deal is expected to be completed by Sept. 1.
In advance of the board votes, the hospitals filed antitrust paperwork with the Federal Trade Commission. On May 27, the FTC blessed the transaction without comment.
In western Pennsylvania, the board of 120-bed Canonsburg (Pa.) General Hospital approved a plan to merge with Allegheny Health, Education and Research Foundation, the parent corporation of Allegheny General Hospital and Allegheny University Medical Centers in Pittsburgh. Canonsburg and Allegheny General have had an affiliation agreement since 1995.
Under the noncash deal, Canonsburg will become part of AUMC, a not-for-profit community health subsidiary of AHERF.
Canonsburg would be the third community healthcare provider to merge into AUMC; Forbes Health System and Allegheny Valley Hospital did so earlier this year.
"Our board of directors and medical executive committee determined that our best option would be to partner with a large, multihospital system with a similar vision and mission," said Barbara A. Bensaia, chief operating officer at Canonsburg.
The merger is contingent upon legal reviews over the next two months. After the merger, Canonsburg's board of directors will be dissolved.