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Health system expands



Published: Mon, August 1, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



UPMC Lee Regional will be known as the center's downtown campus.

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) -- Memorial Medical Center becomes the region's largest employer and Conemaugh Health System becomes western Pennsylvania's third-largest health system with their acquisition of UPMC Lee Regional Hospital on Monday, officials said.

For the Johnstown hospital, the change marks the end of a 15-month acquisition process but the beginning of a new economic environment in the area, health system and hospital officials said.

"We are going to take the lead in economic development in this community," said Robert Gleason, the outgoing chairman of Memorial Medical Center. He was replaced by James Hargreaves.

Changes

The 241-bed Lee Regional will be known as the downtown campus of Memorial Medical Center. It will have operating rooms, an emergency room and an intensive care unit.

But Lee Regional's inpatient obstetrics and intensive care nursery were moved to Memorial's main campus.

The two hospitals will have a combined annual revenue of $300 million, and Lee Regional's 850 employees will join Conemaugh Health System's staff of 3,400 workers.

But staffing and services could be reduced or changed as time goes on, said Scott Becker, the chief executive officer of both Memorial Medical Center and Conemaugh Health System.

"We can't sit here and say that everything will be status quo," Becker said.

But the size of the health system and the combined hospital will allow them to bring new programs to the area and attract patients from outside the region, Gleason and other officials said.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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