HARRISBURG - The state attorney general's office has given its blessing to the final merger between Lewistown Hospital and Geisinger Health System.
A press release issued late Monday afternoon by Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced the state's approval for the merger to move forward. In order for the merger to successfully take place, Geisinger was required to sign an eight-year agreement in response to the Attorney General's anti-trust concerns regarding the provision of healthcare for residents in Mifflin and Juniata counties.
"This merger with Geisinger ensures that a strong, nonprofit health care system, focused on patients, remains in Lewistown," hospital President and CEO Kay Hamilton said.
Geisinger has agreed that no arbitrary price increases will be made for hospital and physician services; future contracts will be negotiated in good faith within a range paid to similar hospitals and physicians; and that Lewistown Hospital will continue to be operated as an acute care hospital for at least eight years.
The agreement also states that Lewistown's employed primary care physicians can leave Geisinger's employ up to two years after the merger with no restrictions for continuing to practice in Mifflin and Juniata counties, and that health plan contracts for Lewistown Hospital and its employed physician group will be maintained for the remainder of their terms while Geisinger continues allowing health plans to offer tiered health care products.
Lewistown Hospital and Geisinger officials plan to close the merger on Nov. 1.
For the complete story, see Tuesday's edition of The Sentinel.