Meeting held to discuss plans to merge Washington Health System into UPMC

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Pa. — The Attorney General called a meeting to discuss plans to merge Washington Health System into the UPMC system.

The hospital system is a major employer for people living in Washington County.

>> Washington Health System, UPMC announce plans to unite

The hospital’s CEO painted a dire picture, calling the merger critical or they’ll be forced to shut down.

Hundreds came out, every seat was filled and standing room only for the public hearing.

In June, WHS’s board unanimously voted for the deal including a 10-year agreement to keep all 2,700 jobs at Washington Hospital and services including maternity, cardiac surgery and behavioral health.

UPMC will invest $300 million over those 10 years.

The AG’s office must approve the deal, which the The CEO of Washington health system says is critical.

“There’s already been one hospital in the commonwealth who had to set up a GoFundMe to fund payroll,” CEO Brook Ward said. “We don’t want to be in that situation down the road.”

The hospital is on track to lose $34 million this year and $40 million next year.

People signed up to comment publicly, including other UPMC workers who say mergers saved their rural hospitals and some union representatives who spoke out against the deal.

“I firmly believe the health system is making the logical choice keeping standard of care that we are known for but it will be enhanced with this venture,” Samual Magen, a Washington Health System employee said.

“Bottom line I believe with these two great institutions coming together the community will be better served All this is in our backyard,” WHS employee Jeff Marcischak said.

“As a union that has seen its fair share of mergers & acquisitions very rarely do we see success stories where workers, the community make out better in the process,” Director of Western Division UFCW Local 1776 Lance Huber said.

Ultimately, the Attorney General must approve the merge.

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