Sharon Regional sale approved

SHARON, Pa. (WKBN) – The face of Sharon Regional Health System will be changing soon.

The hospital system announced on Wednesday that administrators have approved a purchase agreement with Community Health Systems, Inc. of Nashville, Tenn., which is the same corporation that took over the assets of Forum Health in this area in 2010.

The agreement must be approved by the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General and the Mercer County Orphan’s Court.

The Attorney General’s public hearing is scheduled for Thursday in the Sharon City Building. The Mercer County Orphan’s Court hearing will take place Feb. 26 in Mercer.

The purchase price isn’t being disclosed, but the purchase agreement includes investment commitments totaling $75 million and will include investments in facilities, services and medical technology over the next five years. CHS also promises to expand services in critical care, open heart and vascular surgery, emergency services and obstetrics.

Sharon Regional Hospital dates back to the late 1800s and is now one of Mercer County’s largest employers.

Sharon Regional’s CEO said the partnership with CHS will help with recruiting new physicians and other workers, as well as providing support for the local facility’s existing programs.

“It helps us with reducing expenses that we would never achieve independently. CHS is a very, very large organization that has buying power that we would never achieve independently. Access to capital is obviously one of their strengths,” said Sharon Regional CEO John Janoso.

He said hospital directors actually started looking for a potential partner a year ago, realizing the facility couldn’t continue on as an independently-run facility for very much longer.

“It got to the point, because of the stressers of the economics, we were starting to see growth only happening in yearly increments versus constant and in this industry, if you can’t continue to grow and continuously adapt to the changes that are happening very rapidly, you start to lose your market, and that’s something we did not want to see happen here,” Janoso said.

All employees in good standing will be retained during the sale and at the same rate of pay. Years of service will continue through the acquisition.

“This is a great day for both Sharon Regional and the community, and one we are very proud to announce,” said William Strimbu, chairman of the board of Sharon Regional. “CHS has an outstanding reputation for high quality and patient satisfaction and we’re excited to move forward with an organization that will help position Sharon Regional for future long-term success.”

Strimbu said after thoughtful deliberation and a thorough and competitive evaluation of several partnership options, the board chose CHS, one of the largest and most successful health care organizations in the nation.

I am very excited to move forward with our affiliation with CHS,” said John R. “Jack” Janoso, Jr., president and CEO of Sharon Regional. “Their recognition of Sharon Regional as a strong community asset and commitment to our region insures we’ll be well positioned to serve our patients moving into the future.”

The approval process is expected to be completed within the next several months.

Community Health Systems owns and operates several medical facilities in Mahoning and Trumbull counties, including Trumbull Memorial Hospital in Warren, Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital in Howland and Northside Medical Center in Youngstown.

But unlike the purchase of Forum Health, where facilities underwent name changes, the hospital will continue to be known as Sharon Regional Health System.

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