The boards of Union Hospital of Cecil County and LifeBridge Health, Baltimore, called off a merger.
Union operates a hospital in Elkton, MD., a few miles west of Newark, DE.
Cecil Daily reported uncertainties about future revenue led to the decision to abandon the merger. The story noted that Maryland has a unique regulatory environment that requires all third parties to pay the same charges for care. That formula did not work with a merger with Lifebridge, officials noted.
“LifeBridge Health is the ideal partner for Union Hospital as both organizations are focused on improving the health of people in our communities. As Union Hospital becomes part of LifeBridge Health, we will enhance access to high-quality care and health services for Cecil County residents, as well as patients throughout the state and region,” Rich Szumel, M.D., CEO of Union Hospital stated earlier this year.
In 2018, LifeBridge Health marks its 20th anniversary. The system has four hospitals and network of more than 1,700 physicians.
“LifeBridge Health offers the people of Cecil County access to some of the state’s top medical providers and services in cardiology, neurology, cancer, orthopedics, pediatrics and more. Its geographic reach will promote collaborations for diagnoses, treatment and the management of care. This partnership is a truly great opportunity for our patients, employees and communities,” Szumel stated.
With the signing of the letter of intent in January of this year, the organizations entered a period of exclusive negotiation and due diligence.
Community Hospitals in Maryland and elsewhere have been under pressure to gain affiliations with larger entities as regulators look at health care costs and other issues.
Maryland is populated by large healthcareorganizations such as those operated by the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins. Cecil County also borders Delaware, which is home to the large Christiana Care system.
To the west of Cecil County, the University of Maryland’s Upper Chesapeake Health System has retained a piece of property in Havre de Grace. The site was slated to be used as the location for a hospital.