VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Update: WTWO talked to area residents Wednesday about their thoughts on Union Health’s acquisition of Terre Haute Regional Hospital which is expected to be complete in early 2024.
Dallas Bault of Terre Haute thought it would be a benefit to members of the community. “That’s crazy,” Bault said. “But they can share resources, I guess,” he added.
Annie Whitman of Terre Haute felt differently, “I am very disappointed in that. I like having an option. You can’t find a Doctor in Terre Haute anymore that’s not affiliated with Union Hospital. It has to be their rules, and I have actually left Union Hospital.”
While Sullivan residents, Larry and Sharon Nelson said that while they’ve used Regional Hospital for over 30 years they’ll go either place as long as their doctor is there. “Wherever my doctor goes I’ll go,” Sharon said. “And that’s (the joining of the two hospitals) great. And I like Regional.”
“She’s there, we’ll go there,” Larry added.
Wednesday afternoon Union Hospital officials held a news conference to discuss the announcement of their acquisition of Regional Hospital and what that means for area residents. Steve Holman, President and CEO of Union Health, and Rebecca Lynch, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Union Health spoke on the acquisition.
Holman said they appreciate the State of Indiana and the legislative approval. “We said we’d like to be the poster child for the State of Indiana to improve health metrics and the legislators listened, they said, how can we help you?” He went on to say legislators created a process to move forward. Holman said they’ll be working closely with the State of Indiana and the Health Department to make this work.
WTWO reached out to Sen. Jon Ford for a comment, and he respectfully declined.
During the press conference, WTWO’s Jen Thompson told Holman about the community responses. He had this to say to the community.
“This is the opportunity to offer more robust services than we ever have in the history of the Wabash Valley so as we build and as we get the recruitment that you heard Dr. Lynch talk about, it’s going to provide more choice for more physicians for them. Yes, to do that, we need to come together but in and of itself I would tell you we’ve always had pricing that’s slightly less than the Indiana average here and I do not anticipate that changing.”Steve Holman, President & CEO – Union Health
During the press conference, Holman said he was at Regional Hospital Wednesday attending meetings with Regional employees. Holman said employees had several questions regarding the acquisition, “But I think there was some excitement there too. But also, some, ‘Okay, what does that mean for my pay and benefits.'” He added that there will be a series of meetings over the coming weeks for the 662 future co-workers at Regional to answer those questions.
View the news conference in its entirety in the attached video below.
Terre Haute Regional Hospital CEO, Mark Casanova issued a statement on the agreement between the two hospitals.
“Terre Haute Regional Hospital and Union Health, both of which have long traditions of caring for residents of the Wabash Valley with compassion and excellence, have entered into an agreement by which the two hospitals will work together to advance comprehensive healthcare in this area. We believe the services offered by Terre Haute Regional Hospital and Union Health complement each other and will bring a more unified approach to care that best serves families of the Wabash Valley – better together. In the meantime, we continue to focus on providing our patients with the high-quality care for which we are known.”Mark Casanova, CEO – Terre Haute Regional Hospital
Original: Union Health has reached an agreement to acquire Terre Haute Regional Hospital.
According to a joint press release sent out Wednesday morning, Regional Hospital “will continue operations with no intention of interruptions throughout the transition”.
The release also said that “pending standard regulatory review and approval, both parties will immediately begin the integration process”.
The acquisition includes Regional hospital’s related businesses, physician clinic operations and outpatient services.
The release addresses employees at Regional with the following information: “A dedicated team from Union Health’s human resources department will be working with Terre Haute Regional Hospital employees to begin answering transition questions and extending job offers.”
“We are grateful for what the future holds as Regional team members join Union Health in serving the Wabash Valley. Regional has a long-standing and positive presence in our community and, together, we are excited about the opportunity to further improve access to innovative, quality health care in order to lead our community members to their best health and wellness,” said Steve Holman, President and CEO of Union Health, in the release.
In an email sent out to “physicians, APPs, and Co-workers”, Holman said, “Union Health and Terre Haute Regional leadership teams have recently renewed discussions of how we could enhance services for the community together”.
Holman’s email goes on to say “we have solidified an agreement for Terre Haute Regional Hospital to join Union Health through an acquisition. Through this transition, there is no intent for employee separations, nor to close Terre Haute Regional’s facility. The next steps of the process involve obtaining regulatory approval.”
Mywabashvalley.com reported on the possibility of a hospital merger in Vigo County in August 2022, based on legislation filed by Sen. Jon Ford and sponsored by Rep. Alan Morrison.
The following italicized paragraphs are excerpts from that report:
Two Senate Enrolled Acts in Indiana, SEA 416 from the 2021 Regular Session and SEA 298 from the 2022 Regular Session, allow hospital merger agreements to take place in counties that fit the following criteria:
- A population of less than 140,000
- No bordering county with a population of more than 250,000
- Two hospitals that are both under the statewide comprehensive trauma care system
- One of the two hospitals is a teaching hospital with a medical residency program
- Predominately rural
In order for a hospital merger to be carried out through these laws, a certificate of public advantage, or COPA, application must be submitted to the Indiana Department of Health. COPAs traditionally displace antitrust laws and allow for states to approve and oversee hospital mergers and acquisitions.
The legislation in place in Indiana includes language that says that a hospital that has been issued a COPA may not be purchased by another hospital or system of hospitals unless the purchase has been approved by the Federal Trade Commission.
We will continue to follow this story as it develops.