WCA Hospital and UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pa., announced Tuesday that they have signed a strategic affiliation agreement between the two health systems that will expand access to health care services and resources in the region.
The affiliation signed on Monday by leaders from the two hospitals enables WCA Hospital to retain control of the hospital and the services they provide while affording the community the expertise and resources of UPMC Hamot that is now part of UPMC, an academic medical center.
Betsy Wright, WCA Hospital president/CEO, said the affiliation agreement will strengthen WCA as a regional hospital and comprehensive health care system.
Seated from left, Betsy T. Wright, FACHE, WCA Hospital president/CEO; and Jim Fiorenzo, UPMC Hamot president, sign the strategic affiliation agreement between WCA Hospital and UPMC Hamot that will expand access to health care services and resources in the region. Standing in back from left, are Brenda J. Ireland, WCA Hospital board of directors chair; John Malone, UPMC Hamot chief executive officer; and B. Scott Kern, UPMC Hamot board of directors chair.
"The greatest benefit of our affiliation is keeping high-quality care close to home," said Mrs. Wright. "Community hospitals across the nation are facing extraordinary challenges in today's uncertain health care environment. We are very excited to work alongside UPMC Hamot to provide greater opportunity moving forward into the future of health care delivery including our ability to recruit physicians and provide additional local specialty services to the benefit of everyone we serve. Through our combined efforts, health care will continue to grow even stronger and preserve local access to patient care."
The affiliation is a strategic affiliation whereby both WCA Hospital and UPMC Hamot have agreed to work collaboratively on initiatives that will enhance the health care delivery in the local region. Therefore, WCA Hospital will retain a separate identity from UPMC Hamot. WCA Hospital will remain an independent, not-for-profit hospital and retain its independence and assets. The efforts of the WCA Foundation will support only WCA Hospital.
"UPMC Hamot is looking forward to a long and successful partnership with WCA," said Jim Fiorenzo, UPMC Hamot president. "This strategic affiliation not only strengthens WCA as the foremost provider of healthcare throughout Jamestown and the Southern Tier, but it further enhances UPMC Hamot's commitment to serve the patients of Chautauqua County."
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is WCA Hospital doing this?
The health care world is changing rapidly. Health care systems are under increasing pressure to coordinate care for patient populations while operating with ever greater efficiencies. WCA is looking for a strategic partner that will support and strengthen WCA as a regional hospital and comprehensive health care system. We know that the time to look for a strategic partner is when you are in a position of strength and bring value to a new organization that we believe shares our commitment to provide quality health care to the communities and patients we serve.
Why is UPMC Hamot doing this?
As Hamot looks at the future of health care, Hamot believes that our region will depend on strategic alliances to provide the highest quality health care. Hamot and WCA have had a long and mutually beneficial relationship for many years and this would be a long-term partnership that would benefit the entire region. UPMC Hamot provides services in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York.
Why did WCA pick UPMC Hamot to affiliate with?
WCA sought a partner who would be comfortable with a relationship with a hospital wanting to retain ownership, shared a common vision for the future, was large enough to provide the services necessary for health care in the future and was a fit culturally. In addition, we wanted a partner that would provide easy access for the Jamestown area and additional health care services with excellent quality.
What are the next steps?
The agreement to explore a strategic affiliation between the two health systems is non-binding, which means that either party can walk away at any time. However, our intent is that it will ultimately result in a long and mutual beneficial relationship. The next step in the process is due diligence, the development of the definitive agreements and preparing necessary filings with the appropriate regulatory agencies.
Will this result in personnel changes?
Employees decisions are best left at the local level. It is our intent that, through this partnership, WCA becomes an even more vibrant and growing health system.
What does this mean to WCA patients?
UPMC shares WCA's passion for outstanding health care and is committed to local control and local involvement. The affiliation is not anticipated to result in changes to physician or patient care staffing. Having WCA as your favorite hospital won't change. We are here for the long term. Having the support of a strong strategic partner gives us even more resources to serve our patients and our community.
Will WCA remain under local control?
YES. This is an affiliation agreement not a merger. The WCA board of directors will remain local. All WCA assets will remain local.
The WCA Hospital board of directors restated that patient access to high-quality care locally; the ability to recruit new physicians and provide additional services and programs; and the preservation to retain hospital independence and local board decisions remain top priorities.
"This affiliation brings together two dedicated and committed organizations to enhance services, quality and patient care throughout Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania," said Brenda Ireland, WCA Hospital board of directors chair. "While we continue to succeed as an independent organization, our affiliation with UPMC Hamot will allow us to broaden and strengthen our scope of services and programs that we can offer our community while maintaining excellent health care locally."
WCA Hospital and UPMC Hamot will immediate begin working on collaborations in a number of support and clinical areas that will be mutually beneficial to both organizations and address community need. One of the key benefits and top priorities of the affiliation is to expand its physician recruitment efforts to recruit medical and surgical as well as primary care which includes family practice and general internal medicine physicians. Also in progress through the affiliation, will be physician-to-physician consults via Telemedicine and other modalities.
ABOUT WCA HOSPITAL
The mission of WCA Hospital is to improve the health and well being of the people of Chautauqua County and the surrounding area. WCA Hospital, a 342-licensed bed hospital, is located in Jamestown, chartered in 1885, is southwestern New York's largest not-for-profit health care provider, offering an extensive range of inpatient and outpatient acute and rehabilitation services. WCA Hospital has been recognized at the state and national level for high quality care outcomes and ranked top performer among hospitals across the United States. The hospital is accredited by The Joint Commission, The American Association of Blood Banks, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and American College of Radiology and is approved by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. For more information, visit WCA's website at www.wcahospital.org, or call 487-0141.
ABOUT UPMC HAMOT
UPMC Hamot is a 412-bed tertiary care facility, regional referral hub, and Level II Trauma Center located in Erie, Pa. Supported by a 400-member medical staff and 3,100 dedicated employees, UPMC Hamot's mission is to serve its patients, communities, and one another in the UPMC Hamot tradition of quality, health, healing, and education. UPMC Hamot's superior health care services are continually recognized by notable accrediting bodies. The organization joined UPMC on Feb. 1, 2011.