Nanticoke Health inks merger deal with Salisbury-based hospital system

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Hospitals to keep their current names

Nanticoke Health Services, and Peninsula Regional Health System, Salisbury, MD, announced that a definitive agreement to affiliate has been reached.

Pending final state and federal approval, which is anticipated in November, Seaford-based Nanticoke Health Services will join the much larger Peninsula Regional Health System, headquartered in Salisbury, MD.

“In order for Nanticoke to further its mission to provide the best care possible for our community, it became imperative we find a strong, compatible healthcare partner. Peninsula Regional has always been a supportive ally and great neighbor, sharing a similar mission and culture,” said Steve Rose, CEO of Nanticoke Health Services. “Together we will continue and grow the legacy of high-quality healthcare for our community.”

A ‘great neighbor’

According to a statement from Nanticoke, the system began looking for a partner two years ago. A few months ago, Nanticoke signed a letter of intent to affiliate with Peninsula.

The next step is a public review process with the State of Delaware. At the conclusion of the regulatory process, expected to be completed later this year, the affiliation would become final and the two organizations will move toward health care team.

No immediate changes

No immediate changes in staffing or the delivery of healthcare at either system are anticipated once the affiliation takes place.

Nanticoke will continue to provide services in western Sussex County.

“Peninsula Regional Health System, with a decades-long presence in Sussex County, will help to strengthen and enhance Nanticoke’s efforts through integrated care, expanding services where needed and making more readily accessible the Delmarva Peninsula’s most advanced tertiary care services,” the release stated.

“Peninsula Regional Health System is honored to have this opportunity to bring the Nanticoke team together with ours to form an unparalleled partnership of healthcare excellence. Our missions are nearly identical, and each of us has an unwavering commitment to enhancing high-quality health and wellness through best practices across the Delmarva Peninsula,” said Steve Leonard, CEO of Peninsula Regional Health System.

McCready Health of Crisfield, MD, recently signed a definitive agreement to also join PRHS. That process is undergoing a similar regulatory review and expected to be finalized in late 2019.

New name for healthcare system

Once complete, the new health system — including Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, Peninsula Regional Medical Center and McCready — will be renamed. The Nanticoke, PRMC, and McCready names will remain at the existing hospitals and health centers under the governance of the new health system.

The Peninsula Regional Health System Board of Directors, working with their counterparts at Nanticoke Health Services, will oversee the transition. Steve Leonard will remain CEO of the new health system and be responsible for executive leadership, including the Nanticoke additions.

Both Peninsula and Nanticoke face competitive pressures. The Seaford-based health care provider, is seeing growing competition in its western Sussex County stronghold that is also in driving distance to Peninsula’s Salisbury hospital and related services. Peninsula also has locations in Delaware.

Peninsula, while the largest health care system on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, is facing an aggressive University of Maryland hospital system that has acquired rural hospitals on the upper end of the Eastern Shore.

To the north in Cecil County, MD. the parent organization for Elkton’s Union Hospital is in talks to merge with Christiana Care, Delaware’s largest health care system.

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