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Maryland health systems to merge

The University of Maryland Medical System has approved a proposed merger between two of its members, Chester River Health and Shore Health. The boards of both systems, both of whom unanimously agreed to the merger, say that the deal will create a sustainable and secure financial future for both institutions while making better health care more accessible to their patients.

The chairpersons of both systems issued a joint statement expressing excitement about the business sale. Chester River Health's chair explained that the merger will create "a sustainable health care system and that is really trailblazing" in the state of Maryland. He noted that the systems' collaboration will make more "services, programs and specialists" available to "residents of the Mid-Shore" region of Maryland, streamline both institutions' operations and better adapt to dramatic changes introduced by recent healthcare reforms.

Administrators and board members from both systems created a Regionalization Study Committee in order to assess the health needs of the Mid-Shore communities served by the Shore Health and Chester River Health. The RSC spent about a year holding forums to collect input from physicians, community members and volunteers and employees with both systems. The agreement to merge the systems was the ultimate result of this process. The Committee will continue holding meetings until the merger takes place in order to coordinate the transition into a combined entity.

Chester River Health and Shore Health will merge into a single entity with a unified management team in July of 2013. The combined organization will oversee three hospitals, a rehabilitation center, several diagnostic and outpatient facilities, an emergency center and hospice services. The systems have also approved changing certain services. For instance, the boards of both systems have endorsed the expansion of one medical pavilion, the employment of several new clinical specialists and enhanced access to telemedicine and diabetes programs.

Source: Maryland.Newszap.com, "Shore Health to merge with Chester River Health," Jan. 8, 2012

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