The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

April 4, 2014

The state of health care: Make a deal or else

NEW CASTLE — The health-care system is undergoing makeover surgery.

On the same day Sharon Regional Health System finalized its sale to Community Health System Inc., New Castle-based Jameson Health System said it was considering similar action.

Last week Grove City Medical Center in Pine Township said it will be closing its costly maternity unit this summer after it entered a partnership with UPMC. After July 1 patients who are expecting will deliver their babies at UPMC Horizon in Farrell or UPMC Northwest in Seneca.

Hospital sales, mergers and partnerships aren’t unique to western Pennsylvania. Hospital systems throughout the country are entering deals thought unimaginable five years ago.

Eroding profit margins and new mandatory regulations are squeezing hospitals as never before. The message in health care now is simple: Make a deal or face the consequences.

Among the reasons Doug Danko, Jameson’s CEO, cited for holding talks with other outfits is an upcoming mandate of the Affordable Care Act that health systems get elaborate medical information systems.

Such information systems aren’t simple $500-a-pop personal computers. Hospitals must be capable of sending, receiving, storing and cataloging everything from MRI and CT scanner photos and videos to ordering pharmaceutical goods. And that requires pricey and complex software and computers.

How costly?

Before reaching a deal with Community Health, Sharon Regional estimated the price for its system would run around $30 million. In a good year, that’s six times the hospital’s total profits.

Danko wasn’t understating Jameson’s position when he said such information systems are “a very, very heavy lift’’ that most independent health systems can’t afford.

If Jameson follows the same thought process of other hospital systems, its decision will likely be in hand before the end of the year.

Text Only
Local News
  • Better security Grant available to boost security in district courts

    County officials are looking to quickly upgrade security systems in the five district judge offices, not due to an increase in risk, but because current systems are antiquated and there is a short window to apply for some financial help with the costs.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Officials split over selling older monitors

    What to do with a pile of older LCD computer monitors, keyboards and mice remains up in the air until the third, and often absent, county commissioner makes a decision.

    July 24, 2014

  • Police anxious to talk with victim

    Sharon police want to talk to a West Hill man about several other men who came to his house shortly before he was shot and critically wounded Tuesday.

    July 24, 2014

  • AED presentation Heart-friendly pool

    The Lackawannock-Shenango-West Middlesex Pool has some pretty obvious changes from when it was opened almost 46 years ago.

    July 24, 2014 4 Photos

  • Sharon man 'stable' after being shot in his West Hill home

    A Sharon man was in stable condition this morning after being shot by one of several men he had let into his West Hill home, police said.

    July 23, 2014

  • GJR killer not eligible for parole, court rules

    State Superior Court on Tuesday reversed a local judge’s decision that the sentence for one of two men who killed a night supervisor at George Junior Republic, Pine Township, was unconstitutional.

    July 23, 2014

  • Duplicated files, former worker confesses

    A Mercer woman accused of stealing customer lists, billing information and other data from her former employer headed off trial Monday by pleading guilty to a charge of unlawful duplication.

    July 23, 2014

  • Starved house Vandals vent their emotions

    Vandals kept police busy Sunday and Monday nights at a home in Greenville where the Mercer County District Attorney’s office said a boy was starved and beaten by his mom.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Couple, another man charged in thefts

    Pennsylvania State Police have filed charges of burglary, theft, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief against an East Palestine, Ohio, couple and another man in connection with two robberies in rural Mercer County.

    July 22, 2014

  • Taking stock Where’s the beef? Bull’s still missing

    Is it possible that an alien abduction took place in the Mercer area last week? A solid red, 2-year-old Watusi bull with 3-foot-long horns has been missing since July 14 with no trace of its existence left on earth.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Buhl Day honorees

    The Buhl Day committee has chosen for this year’s celebration five honored guests whose volunteer work they feel best showcases the legacy of philanthropic work left behind by Frank and Julia Buhl a century ago.

    July 22, 2014

  • GC pair not hurt in accident injuring 2

    Two drivers were taken to a hospital after an accident at the intersection of state routes 965 and 173 in Worth Township, police said.

    July 21, 2014

  • WaterFire crowds WaterFire doused

    Sharon’s WaterFire wasn’t lacking either of its elements on Saturday. There was steady, day-long rain but the day concluded with the Shenango River ablaze.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Starved’ boy released from hospital

    A 7-year-old boy allegedly starved and beaten by his mother is out of the hospital and ordered out of his Greenville home by Mercer County Common Pleas President Judge Thomas R. Dobson.

    July 20, 2014

  • WaterFire walking tour Time traveling

    A group of more 50 people walked between the raindrops Saturday during an historical tour of downtown Sharon during the city’s WaterFire celebration.

    July 20, 2014 6 Photos 1 Story