Appalachian Regional Healthcare and ARH Tug Valley Health Services, Inc. File Certificate of Need for Williamson Memorial Hospital
ARH Tug Valley Health Services, Inc., a subsidiary of Appalachian Regional Healthcare (“ARH”) expects this week to file a Certificate of Need (CON) to acquire Williamson Memorial Hospital in Williamson, W. Va., from Health Management Associates, Inc. (NYSE: HMA). As part of the CON, ARH will also request approval to merge services of Williamson Memorial Hospital with Williamson ARH Hospital, located in South Williamson, Ky.
ARH is exploring all options for the future use of the Williamson Memorial campus. The final transfer of ownership will likely occur in early 2014. Until then, Williamson Memorial will continue to operate and provide patient care as it does today.
“The agreement to purchase Williamson Memorial Hospital follows much consideration by both hospitals and is a significant move that will strengthen and increase access to specialty and hospital care for everyone in the Tug Valley,” said Joe Grossman, president and chief executive officer of Appalachian Regional Healthcare. “We are confident that this is the right move for preserving excellent healthcare for generations to come.”
Reasons for the Merger
The Tug Valley has two acute care facilities within two miles of each other that both require ongoing investments in new technology, on-call specialists, equipment and facility updates to meet the demands of healthcare reform, the fiscal responsibilities of Medicaid and Medicare – and too few patients to fill the need of duplicative resources. The declining population of the Tug Valley, coupled with the diminishing number of patients who access Williamson Memorial, has resulted in insufficient demand to support two full-service hospitals in the area.
Williamson Memorial and Williamson ARH are not alone in the pursuit of partnerships: In 2012 alone, approximately 110 hospital merger, acquisition and partnership deals occurred, representing more than 350 hospitals in the U.S. (Modern Healthcare).
ARH’s plan will bring together the two hospitals in a manner that will eliminate duplication of services, ensure that physicians, nurses and other caregivers have the resources necessary to continue the delivery of high-quality care, and provide the community the greatest benefit possible in a fiscally responsible manner well into the future.
“Over the years, it has become clear that a small community like ours needs one strong system that leverages the resource of both organizations – instead of having two hospitals with duplicative services competing for too few patients,” added Tim Hatfield, community chief executive officer of Williamson ARH.“We know now – more than ever – that ARH has a responsibility to listen to the community and to grow and change access to services according to the needs of patients here. We take that responsibility very seriously.”
In 1956, the United Mine Workers of America founded the Miners’ Memorial Hospital Association, which would later become Williamson ARH Hospital. The ARH system is the largest provider of care in eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia.
ARH serves more than 350,000 residents across eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia, has nearly 5,000 employees and a network of more than 600 active and courtesy medical staff members representing various specialties. In the Tug Valley, 45 percent of Williamson ARH employees live in West Virginia, and in the first 10 months of 2013, more than 50 percent of the hospital’s patients were from West Virginia.
ARH is designated one of the most highly integrated healthcare networks in the nation based on its ability to provide residents a wide-range of services through its network of healthcare facilities, virtually eliminating residents’ need to leave the area for care. In South Williamson, the system has also invested nearly $9 million since 2005 in facility upgrades, medical technology and new infrastructure, including a new OB suite, oncology services and a Medical Mall. In the last six years, ARH has recruited more than 20 physicians to the area.
Following the filing of the CON, ARH will begin working with the West Virginia Health Care Authority, other state elected officials and regulators, health plans, union leaders, local community leaders and EMS to ensure a smooth transition. ARH is committed to assisting the Williamson Memorial employees through the transition as much as possible, including offering employment to the majority of current Williamson Memorial staff in anticipation of greater patient volumes at Williamson ARH.
ARH Tug Valley Health Services, Inc. is a subsidiary of Appalachian Regional Healthcare (“ARH”). ARH is a not-for-profit health system serving 350,000 residents across Eastern Kentucky and Southern West Virginia. Operating 10hospitals, multi-specialty physician practices, home health agencies, HomeCare Stores and retail pharmacies, ARH is the largest provider of care in southeastern Kentucky and the third-largest private employer in southern West Virginia.
The ARH system employs nearly 5,000 people and has a network of more than 600 active and courtesy medical staff members representing various specialties.
Consistently recognized for its medical excellence, the ARH system is one of two Kentucky health systems to be named to the 2012 IMS Top 100 Integrated Healthcare Networks list of the most highly integrated healthcare networks in the nation, and was selected as the 2010 Outstanding Rural Health Organization in the nation by the National Rural Health Association (NRHA). Most recently, the Harlan ARH Hospital was named one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals® by Thomson Reuters, a leading provider of information and solutions to improve the cost and quality of healthcare.