UPMC Susquehanna merge with two rural hospitals

Sunbury, Northumberland County (WBRE/WYOU-TV) UPMC Susquehanna announced Monday they'll be combining two community hospitals in central PA. 

This comes after rural area health systems struggle to advance in the medical field financially. 

This merger is unique in that neither facility was struggling financially. But officials with the community Hospitals say joining with UPMC will bolster options for patients care. 

A new sign hangs on the side of the former 'Sunbury Community Hospital.' Just like it's future in bright colors UPMC Susquehanna is merging with the 125 year old facility. 

"Didn't think about it at all! Especially Pittsburgh Medical that was the furthest  from my mind," said Robert Miller. 

This rural hospital was not struggling like many others so the merger came as a shock for residents. UPMC made their initial contrat talking about a desire to expand. Officials with Sunbury Community Hospital. Liked the pitch and decided to go all in. Lock Haven Hospital then followed suit. 

"Growth is very important particulary for small rural hospitals that are at risk nationally. So, that means a lot to us," said Bob Williams, CEO of UPMC Susquehanna Sunbury. 
    
Since merging the Williamsport based health system's transition team has been making sure the companies combine without negatively affecting patient care. 

"You always hope it's a smooth transition. We did transition to a new computer system that takes a lot of education and resources," said Catharine Keister, Director of Nursing, UPMC Susquehanna Sunbury. 

"We're going to get together and plan strategically to see what will be best for the community we serve," said Williams. 

Resident are glad their community hospital is here to stay! "I live two blocks from the hospital and I can get up here in five minutes or less," said Miller. 

Oct. 1st Sunbury will be able to celebrate with the new hospital. UPMC Susquehanna Lock Haven will celebrate the day after. Times have not yet been announced.      


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