Frequently Asked Questions About the Affiliation
How does this benefit patients and the community?
Together, Summit Health and WellSpan seek to enhance a model of care that is based on an individual’s relationship with a primary care physician and coordinates all the care that an individual requires across the lifespan. The two organizations share a vision of transforming health care by improving health outcomes, enhancing the patient experience and managing costs for people in three distinct patient populations: the healthy, the chronically ill and the acutely ill. This affiliation also provides physicians and clinicians with the ability to share best practices and education opportunities. It also supports efforts to recruit and retain physicians, especially those in short supply, and achieve improvement in expense management, through economies of scale and management of the supply chain.
Do we anticipate an impact on jobs and services?
These discussions are focused on identifying opportunities to better meet community needs. Because WellSpan and Summit Health serve essentially separate but complementary geographic areas and patient populations, we do not anticipate a consolidation of clinical services or a reduction of clinical staff. WellSpan will retain all Summit Health employees in good standing without changes to their wages, benefits and retirement plan as well as their tenure and years of service until January 1, 2020 following the completion of an affiliation. WellSpan supports maintaining Summit’s existing collective bargaining agreement with SEIU for the duration of its current term.
Will the affiliated organization continue to be a charitable organization?
Yes. Both Summit Health and WellSpan are founded on the common values of charitable, community-based health care and are organizations which are not-for-profit. They are governed by boards comprised of community members. The organizations will continue to provide essential services to all – regardless of their ability to pay.
What happens to charitable donations made to Summit Health?
A new charitable Foundation has been established for the purpose of raising funds and using them to provide support for Summit Health and its tax-exempt subsidiaries and their related activities in Summit’s service region. All charitable donations currently held or pledged to Summit Health will be retained by Summit Health or, at Summit Health’s discretion, transferred to the new Foundation and used only to provide this support.
Will Franklin County residents have to travel to York for certain health care services?
No, WellSpan believes that patients should choose where they receive their care. Some health care organizations use a “hub and spoke” model, which means that patients who require certain types of services must travel to a large hospital or a specific destination to receive care. WellSpan Health is not such an organization, nor does it believe that such a model would best serve the residents of Franklin County and surrounding communities. Instead, WellSpan believes in enhancing local systems of care that provide the services that people need, including an expanded scope of specialized health care services, in the communities where they live.
For example, following Gettysburg Hospital’s affiliation with WellSpan, WellSpan has made significant efforts to establish a local system of care in Adams County that affords greater access to ambulatory and various subspecialty services that would not have been possible otherwise. Examples include:
- A new Emergency Department at WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital, which improves access to emergency services
- Several new ambulatory facilities, which enhance access to primary care, outpatient rehabilitation, lab testing services, diagnostic imaging and retail pharmacy
- WellSpan Adams Health Center
- WellSpan Washington Street Health Center
- WellSpan Aspers Health Center
- Significant expansion of outpatient rehabilitation services across the communities of Adams County
- Local access to subspecialty care, including neurology, behavioral health, cardiology, perinatology, orthopedics, rheumatology, endocrinology and urology
- Enhanced access to radiation oncology through the WellSpan Adams Cancer Center and the Cherry Tree Cancer Center (a partnership between WellSpan and UPMC Pinnacle Hanover).
- The addition of a cardiac catheterization laboratory at WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital, which will expand to include interventional treatment services (angioplasty and stenting) this year.
Will the affiliation result in the elimination of health care services in Franklin County and surrounding communities?
Neither WellSpan nor Summit Health see any reason to eliminate or otherwise change the scope of services that are currently offered by Summit Health as a result of the proposed affiliation. Across the United States, health care organizations are innovating and re-designing their services and programs in attempts to meet their communities’ needs in a rapidly changing environment. As this trend continues, successful organizations like Summit Health and WellSpan will continue to take advantage of opportunities to make changes that will help them meet their missions of service well into the future.
Will Summit Health continue to accept the same health insurance plans?
Yes. The health system will continue to support Summit’s continued participation with its current contracts with third-party payers.
How does WellSpan Health work with physicians?
Like Summit Health, WellSpan has a tradition of developing services and engaging physicians in a manner that meets the health care needs of area residents as well as the various practice styles and preferences of today’s physicians. Across Adams, York, Lancaster and Lebanon counties, WellSpan has established positive working relationships with physicians via:
- The WellSpan Medical Group, which includes employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians
- The WellSpan Provider Network, which includes WellSpan’s hospitals and medical group physicians as well as private practice community physicians who work together to improve the quality and cost of services they provide to select populations.
What about open positions, are you still hiring people?
Yes, please let your friends and family know that we will continue to hire and start new employees. We are operating business as usual.