"The Ronan Report" provides insight about the activities at the Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland, and about the changes taking place in healthcare today from a CEO's perspective.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Exploring A Potential Alliance

Today, the Western Maryland Health System Board gave their approval to the formation of an exploratory group consisting of representatives of WMHS, Frederick Regional Health System in Frederick, Maryland and Meritus Health in Hagerstown, MD to examine ways in which the three health systems could possibly work together.  Health care is changing quickly and dramatically.  Each health system feels that a potential alliance may be the best way to meet the many challenges and still preserve viable health care in each community.  Below is a press release that was issued today.  I will continue to blog from time to time on the progress that is made over the next six to nine months.

Three Maryland Hospitals Announce Strategic Discussions for Potential Alliance

Three independent Maryland health systems announced today the signing of a memorandum of understanding to enter into strategic discussions of collaboration and affiliation.  Chief executive officers of Frederick Regional Health System, Meritus Health and Western Maryland Health System and their respective boards of directors have agreed to study and discuss opportunities that will allow each organization to enjoy continued success in meeting the challenges of the current and future health care environment.  

Barry P. Ronan, President and CEO of Western Maryland Health System, explains, “We are three not-for-profit organizations that are deeply -rooted in our communities.  We share a common set of values, with rich traditions of service and support, and we are exploring ways to work together to continue to best serve the health needs of our communities.”

The proposed alliance would provide a sound business structure for developing new services and improving infrastructures. Joseph P. Ross, President and CEO of Meritus Health, states, “We are beginning discussions that will focus on our shared vision of clinical collaboration, physician services, support services and shared resources to enable us to deal successfully with today’s health care challenges.  Some of the issues our organizations must manage include health reform, the next fiscal cliff and financial pressures on both a national and state level, and the intensified health needs of an aging population.”

Thomas A. Kleinhanzl, President and CEO of Frederick Regional Health System, adds, “The forces shaping health care are challenging for independent community hospitals and many are creating alliances for continued stability.  Our collective goal is to explore options in order to maintain high quality and cost-effective health services for our communities.” 

The group will undertake a feasibility study with the Berkeley Research Group (BRG) that will explore the merits of affiliation and collaboration of the three health systems.  It is expected to take several months to receive a final recommendation.


Frederick Regional Health System operates health care facilities and services in Frederick County, Maryland, including Frederick Memorial Hospital.  Meritus Health operates health care facilities and services in Washington County, Maryland, including Meritus Medical Center.  Western Maryland Health System operates health care facilities and services in Allegany County, Maryland, including Western Maryland Regional Medical Center.

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