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Frequently Asked Questions

Geisinger-Bloomsburg Merger
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

(updated 8.7.12)

 

What did Geisinger and Bloomsburg announce? And how did this agreement come about?

  • Recognizing the challenges faced by smaller hospitals and health systems, the Bloomsburg Health System Board of Directors and leadership engaged in a strategic planning process including an analysis of the region’s demographic trends and health care delivery system, as well as the system’s programs, services, operating costs and alternative delivery models. This process included a review of The Affordable Care Act and companion legislation, and the potential impact on BHS.
  • The Bloomsburg Board and leadership team concluded that a partnership with a larger, financially stable health care provider was the only action that would allow the system to remain a sustainable community health care resource.
  • Potential partners were assessed and Geisinger Health System was identified as best suited to meet the community’s future health care needs.
  • Working together, BHS and Geisinger leadership teams determined that the integration of Bloomsburg Hospital and its affiliates into Geisinger is the best approach for sustaining and growing acute care services. Bloomsburg’s leaders and Board members spent months analyzing market trends, exploring opportunities and deliberating regarding potential partners.
  • The result is that both Boards of Directors signed a definitive agreement outlining the intention to merge and fully integrate Bloomsburg into Geisinger.

What type of relationship will Bloomsburg and Geisinger have?

  • Bloomsburg Hospital and its affiliates (Bloomsburg Health Care Center, Columbia Montour Home Health & Hospice, and Bloomsburg Physicians Services) merged and integrated into Geisinger Health System on July 1, 2012.
  • Geisinger-Bloomsburg Hospital will remain a free-standing acute care hospital, just as Geisinger Medical Center (GMC) is a free-standing facility in the central region.
  • All Bloomsburg entities became part of Geisinger Health System.

Does this mean any change for Bloomsburg physicians?

  • Geisinger-Bloomsburg will continue its “open staff” hospital model that has both employed and independent community physicians.
  • All of Bloomsburg’s medical staff members can continue to refer patients to Geisinger-Bloomsburg for tests and procedures, as well as admit them to the hospital and provide inpatient care.
  • This is the same medical staff model that has been in place at GWV for the past 30 years.

What does the agreement mean for Bloomsburg leadership?

  • Regis Cabonor retired from Bloomsburg on July 1, 2012.
  • Lissa Bryan-Smith has been named Chief Administrative Officer of Geisinger-Bloomsburg Hospital
  • Bloomsburg’s former Board of Directors will now transition into an Advisory Board.

How will this merger impact Bloomsburg’s charitable, not-for-profit mission?

  • Bloomsburg’s mission and charitable objective are consistent with Geisinger’s mission, vision and values.
  • Both systems are dedicated to improving the health care status of the community; ensuring that the residents of this region have local access to the care they need, close to where they live and work; and to maintaining sustainable and proven models of innovative care.

Why is Geisinger the best partner for Bloomsburg?

  • This agreement marks the collaboration of two Pennsylvania-based, not-for-profit organizations that share a common mission of care and community service.
  • Geisinger shares Bloomsburg’s dedication to excellent patient care, and has the ability to recruit and retain physicians and other health care professionals.
  • Geisinger has a long history of commitment to this region.
  • Geisinger is the model for health care of the future—cited by national leaders—and is the best positioned health system to meet the present and future healthcare needs of the community.
  • Geisinger brings innovative solutions and the stability that will enable investment in employees, technology and physical plant; as well as extensive experience in patient care, education, research and service.
  • Physicians play a major role in the leadership of both organizations.
  • Geisinger annually contributes nearly $5.5 billion to the Pennsylvania economy. Geisinger, through direct employment, spending and the ripple effect of its utilization of local, regional and state vendors, provided nearly 26,000 jobs to the state’s workforce in 2010.
  • Geisinger has added more than 5,000 jobs in the last decade, an incredible 72% increase to its workforce.

Why is this agreement with Bloomsburg good for Geisinger?

  • Geisinger is dedicated to providing care close to where patients live and work, so it makes sense to team up with a Bloomsburg-based health organization.
  • Geisinger chose Bloomsburg because of the organizations’ shared mission of patient care, education, research and community service—and a mutual commitment to excellence and innovation.
  • Together, the organizations will be able to develop exciting new programs designed to improve patients’ health and well-being, and enhance our ability to provide superior care and service for all the residents of the region.

What type of financial arrangement have you agreed to?

  • This is a merger—not a purchase.
  • Geisinger is committed to future investment in Geisinger-Bloomsburg over the next several years to enhance clinical programs, increase physician recruitment, implement new information systems including the electronic health record, and improve and expand facilities.

How will Geisinger ‘pay’ for such a significant investment?

  • Geisinger has one of the strongest health care bond ratings in the United States.
  • Geisinger is very confident in this investment, its ability to fund it, and the future potential to enhance health care for patients.

Did financial problems push Bloomsburg to find a partner?

  •  Yes, the financial stability of Bloomsburg was at stake if its leaders did not find a health care partner.
  • This merger represents an excellent opportunity to combine and share talent, values and resources to better serve the community – while keeping a critical health care presence alive in the Bloomsburg region.

If a position is no longer available due to work flow or other circumstances out of the employee’s control, will they be offered another position?

  • Each situation will be reviewed by HR, who would assist the employee in finding a comparable position within the Geisinger-Bloomsburg entities and the Geisinger Health System.
  • The hospital will maintain its open medical staff that includes both employed and independent, community physicians.

Can employees transfer to a position posted at Geisinger?

  • There will be a 120-day freeze on transfers effective July 1, 2012.

Do employees need to re-apply for their jobs?

  • No, current employees will not need to re-apply.  Job titles and job descriptions may change as needed, pending review by Human Resources.

Will vacation and sick time carry over with the merger?

  • Vacation (i.e. Primary PTO) and sick time (i.e. Extended PTO) policies and balances are currently being reviewed by Human Resources. 

Will employees still work a 37 ½-hour work week?

  • Human Resources and Leadership are reviewing staffing, employee schedules and patient needs, and will determine any changes that will ensure we are able to provide the best patient care.

After Geisinger assumed ownership of Mercy Hospital, Wilkes-Barre, it converted the hospital into an outpatient center with doctors’ offices, urgent care centers and rehabilitation beds. It closed the emergency department. Will we see something similar in Bloomsburg?

  • Geisinger-Bloomsburg will remain a stand-alone hospital for at least the next eight years.
  • The Emergency Department will remain open and a vital part of the area’s emergency services network.
  • We plan to work with community physicians to determine the spectrum of clinical programs.

What will happen to Bloomsburg physicians?

  • Geisinger-Bloomsburg will continue to be an open-staff hospital that also employs some physicians.
  • Medical staff members can continue to admit, refer and care for patients at Geisinger-Bloomsburg.
  • This is the same model that has been in place at Geisinger Wyoming Valley for the past 30 years.

How will this affect community education programs/screenings?

  • Geisinger is committed to providing screenings and community-based health management classes, seminars and support groups. Those programs will be allowed to expand.

How will this merger affect local insurance providers?

  • Bloomsburg facilities will continue to accept the same insurance plans as they did prior to the merger.