Geisinger directors approve agreement

DANVILLE – The Geisinger Health System Foundation Board of Directors voted on Thursday to approve the Comprehensive Integration and Merger Agreement with the leadership of Lewistown Healthcare Foundation.

The Lewistown Hospital corporate membership is now dissolved and a new community advisory board will be created.

“I’m pleased that the Board of Directors at Geisinger voted to support a merger with Lewistown Hospital,” said Geisinger President and CEO Glenn Steele Jr. “Geisinger has had a long standing presence in the Lewistown market … We look forward to building on that excellence to ensure the residents of Lewistown continue to have access to quality care, close to home.”

Under the terms of the proposed merger agreement, Geisinger will keep Lewistown Hospital open as an acute care hospital; invest capital commitment in excess of $50 million; keep all staff to the extent possible with comparable benefits/compensation; maintain an open medical staff with the intent of keeping all physicians to the extent possible; continue participation with insurances currently in place; keep the School of Nursing open; recruit needed specialists to the area; meet or exceed Lewistown Hospital Foundation’s charity and self-pay programs; assume the long-term debt and unfunded liability of the Lewistown Hospital Foundation’s pension plan; create a new Community Advisory Board and maintain local identity with the name Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital.

“Now that the boards of the two organizations, as well as the Lewistown corporate membership, have approved the merger, we are looking forward to moving through the regulatory review…” said Lewistown Hospital President and CEO Kay Hamilton. “We see this merger as critical in positioning the organization for the future to continue to care for patients in the Lewistown and neighboring communities.”

Finalization of the merger is pending regulatory review by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and approval by the state Attorney General’s Office. The merger is expected to be finalized within the next three months.