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CHI transfers ownership of Reading, Pa., health network to Penn State Health

August 1, 2015

Catholic Health Initiatives has transferred ownership of the St. Joseph Regional Health Network of Reading, Pa., to Penn State Health, of the Hershey–Harrisburg area.


Dr. A. Craig Hillemeier, dean of Penn State College of Medicine, chief executive of Penn State Health and Penn State's senior vice president for health affairs, addresses the crowd at a July event to welcome St. Joseph Health Network of Reading, Pa., to Penn State Health.

The ownership change, which was effective July 1, follows exclusive negotiations that began last year between the not-for-profit organizations. The Reading-based health network now is called Penn State Health St. Joseph. It remains a not-for-profit provider. Plans call for Penn State Health to retain "substantially all" St. Joseph employees in their current positions, according to a joint news release. The organizations are not disclosing the financial terms of the transfer.

Penn State Health currently is in discussions with the Diocese of Allentown, "related to the Catholic identity of St. Joseph," according to information from Englewood, Colo.-based CHI. Penn State Health and the diocese "agree that the history and tradition of St. Joseph as a Catholic institution (have) been a valuable part of the faith community and are committed to working together to continue this tradition consistent with Catholic doctrine," according to CHI.

St. Joseph includes two Reading campuses with a total of 204 beds. It also includes a medical group and physician hospital organization. It is CHI's only hospital network in Pennsylvania. According to the news release on the deal, the transfer is part of a trend in which smaller health systems are joining larger, close-by systems so that they can care for populations of people within a specific geographical area.

The ownership transfer is expected to improve population health efforts, better manage care costs and enhance access to specialty care and advanced therapies, according to the release. The transfer also will enable St. Joseph to grow as a teaching facility — the network currently has a family practice residency program, a radiology tech program it has been operating in conjunction with Penn State and a nursing program rotation.

The deal continues a preexisting relationship between Penn State Health and St. Joseph. A Penn State Health facility opened a pediatric multispecialty practice at one of St. Joseph's campuses in 2011, and Penn State Health and St. Joseph partner on telemedicine applications.

Penn State University Park, Pa., created Penn State Health in September to unite the health care operations and services of the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and the Penn State Hershey Health System. Penn State Health includes a 551-bed medical center that houses a medical college. Penn State Health also includes a cancer institute, children's hospital, psychiatric institute, rehabilitation hospital and other facilities.

 

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