Altoona (Pa.) Hospital and Bon Secours-Holy Family Regional Health System, also in Altoona, have reached a memorandum of understanding to merge. According to the nonbinding agreement, the hospitals would operate as two separate campuses under one corporate organization governed by an 18-member board -- half named by Altoona and half by Bon Secours. James Barner, president and chief executive officer of 172-bed Altoona, would be president and CEO. Dan Duggan, CEO of 167-bed Bon Secours, would be executive vice president. One medical staff would serve both campuses. PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated a five-year savings from the merger exceeding $32 million, officials said. The consulting firm also proposed dividing services between the campuses. Catholic directives would be maintained at the Bon Secours campus, although the two hospitals also have adopted ethical standards for the entire system. The deal, which requires regulatory approval, is expected to close within six months.
Meanwhile, Latrobe (Pa.) Area Hospital and Westmoreland Health System, Greensburg, Pa., said they have moved closer to their planned merger, announced in November 2003, by conceptually agreeing to build a new hospital. Douglas Clark, executive director and CEO of Latrobe Area Hospital, said there are more issues to be resolved before a final merger agreement is reached within the next several months. -- by Cinda Becker