As the WMHS Administration was finalizing our strategic plan, which will take the health system into 2020, it was determined that WMHS would need an academic medical partner to ensure that we could maintain and enhance the clinical programs and services we provide to our patients.
After a careful review, the WMHS Board of Directors voted to send a Request for Proposal (RFP) to: UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center); West Virginia University Health System (WVUHS); and University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS). UMMS, although initially expressing an interest, chose not to submit a response to the RFP as they were already heavily engaged with the transition of Prince Georges Hospital into their system. Both UPMC and WVUHS submitted responses to the RFP.
The WMHS Board of Directors established criteria to determine which organization best fit with our health system. The criteria included such items as: clinical breadth and depth, commitment to the community, organizational culture, physician alignment, population health initiatives, and clinical innovation. After a thorough review of the responses to the RFP, responses to written questions posed by WMHS, visits to WMHS by both UPMC and WVUHS, site visits by WMHS representatives to both institutions, and meetings with the WMHS Medical Staff, the WMHS Board of Directors determined that UPMC had the breadth and depth of clinical services necessary to strengthen and broaden clinical programs here at WMHS.
Throughout this process, we have maintained that our goal for a clinical affiliation is to maintain and expand the services that we provide to our patients locally. Our intention is that our patients will continue to receive almost all of their care here, and would have to travel of out of town only for those highly specialized services that need to occur at a tertiary care center.
We are very excited about this potential clinical affiliation and it is just that, a clinical affiliation. I have already heard rumors that WMHS has been sold to UPMC, but that is not the case. We will be working much more closely in a variety of areas, but WMHS will continue to be an independent health system that is part of the Trivergent Health Alliance.