The boards of directors of both J.C. Blair Health System Inc. and Penn Highlands Healthcare have signed a Letter of Intent, or LOI, to negotiate an affiliation agreement between the two entities that would integrate J.C. Blair into the Penn Highlands Healthcare system.
J.C. Blair underwent an extensive Request for Proposal, or RFP, process and previously signed an LOI with Post Acute Medical LLC, earlier this year.
Despite best intentions from both parties, it became apparent after further discussions that the long-term strategic vision for the hospital no longer aligned and no longer fit the guiding principles as outlined by the J.C. Blair board at the beginning of the process.
During the past few months, it became evident that Penn Highlands, also a part of the original RFP process, would be a better long-term partner to meet the healthcare needs of the community.
According to J.C. Blair Board Chairman Fred Price, “Through the due diligence process, Post Acute Medical and J.C. Blair realized that merging would not produce the best outcomes for either organization – it just wasn’t a good fit. We believe that Penn Highlands Healthcare is a good fit.”
The affiliation with Penn Highlands, which is expected to take effect in early 2019, is designed to strengthen the delivery of healthcare services by the Huntingdon County-based health care provider. The board’s key objectives that guided the search for a new partner included:
- Continue the mission, vision and values of J.C. Blair Health System
- Maintain and expand key programs and services
- Attract and retain high-quality physicians in a wide range of specialties
- Preserve jobs in Huntingdon County and provide competitive wages, benefits and retirement plans
- Provide the necessary capital to support quality and growth
- Maintain a meaningful role in local governance of the hospital
The mission of Penn Highlands Healthcare is to provide exceptional care through its community-based health system while maintaining a reverence for life. “That mission is an outstanding fit for our organization,” said Price.
“J.C. Blair has always been committed to providing the highest standard of care for the residents of our local communities. Penn Highlands Healthcare’s culture matches our culture.”
“An affiliation with Penn Highlands Healthcare will allow a greater opportunity for J.C. Blair to continue to grow and remain a leader in the provision of health care services as well as maintain its role as a major employer in this region,” added Joe Myers, interim president/chief executive officer of J.C. Blair Health System.
According to Ron King, chairman of the Penn Highlands Healthcare board, “The affiliation of J.C. Blair will expand the geographic footprint of the Penn Highlands Healthcare system while strengthening its ability to recruit providers and expand upon many of its specialty service.
“We are excited to have J.C. Blair join our health system as our fifth acute care facility.”
“We are thrilled to be working toward a partnership with J.C. Blair,” said Steve Fontaine, chief executive officer of Penn Highlands Healthcare.
“As with all of our affiliated hospitals, we know J.C. Blair will be successful at sharing our vision to be the integrated health system of choice through excellent quality, service and outcomes.”
The signing of the letter of intent means that J.C. Blair Health System and Penn Highlands Healthcare have agreed to general terms and conditions of a prospective affiliation.
Throughout the next several months, both parties will engage in additional due diligence, research and discussions to work toward a definitive agreement. This process is subject to customary regulatory review.