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Lancaster General Health (LG Health) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System (Penn Medicine) jointly approved an agreement today to have LG Health become a member of Penn Medicine.

The agreement finalizes discussions the systems started in October and will now be reviewed by state and federal regulatory agencies. While under review, the systems remain unchanged and independent.

The combination would unite one of the nation’s top academic medical centers - world-renowned for its clinical and research excellence - with a health system nationally ranked for its clinical quality. Both are among the top five systems in Pennsylvania, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

 “We extensively evaluated partners that could strengthen our not-for-profit mission of advancing the health of our community in this era of unprecedented healthcare reform,” said Thomas E. Beeman, President & Chief Executive Officer of Lancaster General Health. “Our choice, the University of Pennsylvania Health System, is an elite organization with the resources and expertise to truly transform healthcare.

“Together, our aim will be to enhance access to cost-effective, high-quality care, and to strengthen our complementary teaching and research missions.”

Penn Medicine would provide for the healthcare needs of the LG Health community for as long as LG Health may be affiliated with Penn Medicine. LG Health’s assets would continue to be used to advance the health and well-being of the LG Health community.

LG Health’s governance would continue under a Board of Trustees, consisting of volunteer business and community members, LG Health’s CEO, and representatives of Penn Medicine. LG Health would also gain seats on the University of Pennsylvania Health System’s Board of Trustees.

LG Health’s extensive community benefit efforts, including its charity-care policies, community health programs, and initiatives improving the health of the elderly, poor and other at-risk populations, would continue and be governed by the LG Health Board of Trustees.

“Since forming our strategic alliance more than a year ago, we’ve learned our cultures are similar and that we share a passion for excellence, aimed at improving health and providing more value at less cost,” said Ralph W. Muller, Chief Executive Officer of University of Pennsylvania Health System. “Tremendous synergies and opportunities are possible by combining two of Pennsylvania’s financially strongest and clinically advanced systems.”

Muller noted that Penn Medicine physicians, nutritionists and social workers recently started to conduct a liver transplant evaluation clinic in Lancaster, helping patients avoid trips to Philadelphia. Services for kidney patients are coming later this year. LG Health also plans to soon join the Penn Medicine Telestroke program, which uses telephone, Internet, videoconferencing and other electronic communication methods to improve stroke care.

The health systems established an OB/GYN clerkship rotation at Women & Babies Hospital for its medical students and are identifying additional learning opportunities for aspiring physicians, Beeman noted.

The Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences will remain a part of the Lancaster General Health system.
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