MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU Medicine is in the process of acquiring Uniontown Hospital in Pennsylvania in hopes of expanding its reach and healthcare coverage.
Uniontown Hospital has already signed a letter of intent and the acquisition is expected to be finalized by January 1, 2021. That is according to Albert Wright, the president and CEO of WVU Medicine who said they have been talking to Uniontown for roughly a year to make this possible.
When the acquisition is complete there will be 12 full-service hospitals in the WVU Medicine system, Wright said. This will further solidify their status as the largest private employer and healthcare provider in the state. Wright said the acquisition would be mutually beneficial because there is a gap in healthcare coverage that WVU Medicine can fill for residents of southern Pennsylvania.
“I think we’ll do a good job of that,” Wright said. “I’m blessed to have a board of directors at WVU Medicine that believes in what we’re doing and recognizes that these folks that are so geographically close to us, they’re looking for to us to improve healthcare in their communities and we’re going to step up and do that and that’s a very gratifying feeling.”
For years, he said, WVU Medicine had operated without crossing the Mason-Dixon Line but he said that is a philosophy of the past because the modern world doesn’t work like that anymore. People travel across the border for healthcare, many of whom go to WVU Medicine hospitals or clinics he said.
Now, Wright said, they can better cater to that preexisting population.
“We put our entire electronic medical record into that hospital, into all the physician clinics as well,” Wright said. “So if patients do get transferred between Morgantown and Uniontown or in any of those or are seen in any of the urgent cares here or the clinics all of their information, all of their labs, all of their x-rays, all of their prescriptions, all of their physician progress notes, follow them seamlessly.”
This allows them to be safer, he said and allows them to be more cost-effective because they can start to decrease duplication of care through excellent care coordination.
Wright said Uniontown is a community hospital and that it is going to remain that way. He said patients can be treated up there for orthopedics, cardiology, infections, and conditions of the sort. However, when it comes to more advanced procedures like surgery for the heart, brain or pancreas patients can be transferred to Morgantown.
“You always want to find a win-win in anything you do, where it makes sense for both sides,” Wright said. “And we’ve been working with our board of directors here at WVU Medicine, working with the board of directors and the leadership at Uniontown Hospital and we think we’ve found that win-win.”