Merger final step in process of linking Northwest, UPMC
The Derrick, 11/30/01
A special thank you goes out to The Derrick for allowing
this article to be posted
When the Northwest Health System directors sign a merger
agreement today, the local health center will become the newest member of the
The merger is the final step in a process inked nearly
five years between Northwest and UPMC. In February 1997, Northwest and UPMC
announced they were affiliating, a looser agreement than a merger with the aim
solely focused on sharing clinical services.
That type of affiliation agreement still involves two
other hospitals in this area - Meadville Medical Center and United Community
Hospital in Grove City.
UPMC Health System sprawls across western Pennsylvania and
is the largest non-governmental employer in the region.
It is also one of the most highly regarded health
institutions in the world.
It is affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools
of the Health Science and began simply as a small network of Pittsburgh-based
hospitals, most notably Presbyterian Hospital.
UPMC has grown enormously over the past decade and now
includes more than two dozen hospitals, either merged or affiliated with the
parent organization, and dozens of other health care facilities, ranging from
assisted living facilities to surgery centers.
It is a major integrated delivery and financing system,
with 19 hospitals it owns and another nine hospitals with UPMC affiliation
agreements. UPMC has 4,000-plus physicians, an array of outpatient and
post-acute facilities, and insurance services with more than 300,000 members.
The addition of Northwest Health System to the UPMC fold
puts the Pittsburgh-based health giant further north than it has ever been. The
UPMC-Northwest merger will place another 1,300 or so employees and one brand new
hospital under the auspices of the mega-health system.
While the Northwest merger surely adds to the scope of
UPMC, the impact is right about middling based on UPMC's huge size.
Here's a quick statistical look at the local hospital's
UPMChas 32,700 employees working at facilities in 29
western Pennsylvania counties. That makes it a major employer in those scattered
It is one of the largest not-for-profit integrated health
care systems in the U.S. and boasts an internationally renowned reputation.
More than 4,000 physicians are employed by UPMC. Most are
on hospital staffs but others work at nearly 300 UPMC doctors' offices,
including Venango Internal Medicine in Oil City, throughout the region. Most
recently, 60 physicians from UPMC were cited in the "America's Top
UPMChas the region's largest network of hospitals,
including community hospitals and the University of Pittsburgh-affiliated
teaching hospital. With Northwest, UPMC will have 19 inpatient facilities.
Hospitals that have merged into the UPMC network include:
Pittsburgh: Presbyterian (including Montefiore and Eye and
Ear), Shadyside, Passavant, St. Margaret, South Side, Magee-Women's Hospital,
UPMC Rehabilitation Hospital, Western Psychiatric Institute/Clinic
Everett: Bedford Memorial
Braddock: Braddock Hospital
Johnstown: Lee Regional
McKeesport: McKeesport Hospital
Northwest and nine other western Pennsylvania hospitals
have affiliation agreements with UPMC.
Today, Northwest's affiliation agreement becomes a
full-fledged merger. Also up to transfer from an affiliation to a merger is
Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh. That is a $600 million deal aimed at building
a new children's health center.
That leaves these affiliated hospitals in the UPMC realm:
South Hills Health System, Washington Hospital, Brownsville Hospital, Ellwood
City Hospital, Fay-West Health System (Frick Hospital in Mt. Pleasant and
Highlands Hospital in Connellsville), Jeannette Hospital, Meadville Medical
Center and United Community Hospital in Grove City.
n UPMC's holdings can be split into three categories: Top
level tertiary care, specialty hospitals and community hospitals.
The two hospitals at the top of the UPMC chain are UPMC
Presbyterian and UPMC Shadyside, both in Pittsburgh and both classified as
tertiary care hospitals, or facilities that offer advanced and complex care.
The specialty hospitals are Eye & Ear, Magee-Women's,
UPMC Rehabilitation Hospital and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, all
in Pittsburgh. New next year to the UPMC specialty hospital fold will be
Pittsburgh Children's Hospital.
The UPMC empire has 3,350 beds in service, a figure which
includes Northwest and the pending Children's Hospital numbers.
The largest hospital at 812 beds is UPMC Presbyterian,
followed by Shadyside Hospital with 486 beds. The smallest in bed number is UPMC
Bedford with 59.
UPMC Northwest, with 124 licensed beds, would be the third
smallest (UPMC Greenville has 119 beds, Bedford Memorial has 59) in the UPMC
chain of acute care hospitals.
UPMC also owns more than two dozen surgical centers and
satellites throughout the region.
There are 10 outpatient and more than 15 inpatient UPMC
rehabilitation centers, plus more than 40 affiliated centers, under the auspices
of UPMC in western Pennsylvania.
UPMC owns and operates retirement villages in Greensburg,
Lawrenceville, McCandless, Monroeville, Penn Hills, Scott Township and Squirrel
Hill. The centers offer independent living, assisting living and skilled
nursing. In Venango County, preliminary plans call for a retirement center
sometime in the future at the new hospital site in Cranberry Township.
Home health care is available throughout the UPMC system.
In Venango County, the Northwest-owned VNA will continue to provide those
Business is booming in terms of patient care. Emergency
departments at UPMC hospitals treat more than 275,000 patients a year.
The inpatient numbers are huge. The UPMC admissions,
including those for Northwest and Children's Hospital, amount to 163,800
patients a year. There are nearly two million outpatient admissions each year.
Visits to provide home health services top 150,000 a year.
UPMC's specialty hospitals are often chart-toppers, such
as Magee-Women's Hospital. The Pittsburgh-based hospital delivered more babies
in 1999 than any other hospital in Pennsylvania.
Research has fueled much of UPMC's growth as the health
organization is repeatedly recognized for its groundbreaking medical studies and
trials. For example, UPMC's pioneering transplant system has made it the busiest
transplant center in the world.
That fame means money to UPMC. Its affiliated University
of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is a top 10 recipient of National Institutes of
Health research grants in numerous area, including genetics, orthopaedic
surgery, and pharmacy. The center has more than $180 million in NIH research