CH­ESTER­TOWN, Md.

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS -

— Ch­ester River Health Sys­tem and Shore Health Sys­tem, two not-for-profit health sys­tems un­der the Univer­sity of Mary­land Med­i­cal Sys­tem, plan to merge into a sin­gle or­ga­ni­za­tion with one gov­er­nance struc­ture, ef­fec­tive July 1. Ken Kozel, pres­i­dent and CEO of Eas­ton, Md.-based Shore Health, will serve as pres­i­dent and CEO of the new sys­tem, while Jim Ross, the cur­rent pres­i­dent and CEO at Ch­ester River, will con­tinue to serve in those roles un­til the merger is fi­nal. Baltimore-based Univer­sity of Mary­land Med­i­cal Sys­tem has ap­proved the plans. No fi­nan­cial terms of the merger were dis­closed, and a name for the new sys­tem will be de­ter­mined on or be­fore July 1, a spokes­woman said. A joint an­nounce­ment said the new sys­tem’s mid­dle-man­age­ment team will be de­ter­mined by Jan­uary 2014. The merged sys­tem will op­er­ate hos­pi­tals in Cam­bridge, Ch­ester­town and Eas­ton, Md., as well as a free-stand­ing emer­gency cen­ter and ad­ja­cent med­i­cal pavil­ion in Queen­stown; a nurs­ing and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­ter in Ch­ester­town; out­pa­tient ser­vices and di­ag­nos­tic cen­ters in Cam­bridge, Cen­tre­ville, Ch­ester­town, Denton and Eas­ton; and home-care and hospice ser­vices through­out the area. Ac­cord­ing to the an­nounce­ment, the de­ci­sion to merge was made af­ter a study com­mit­tee com­posed of board mem­bers and ad­min­is­tra­tive lead­ers from both health sys­tems re­viewed the pop­u­la­tion needs in Caro­line, Dorch­ester, Kent, Tal­bot and Queen Anne coun­ties. The new sys­tem, the or­ga­ni­za­tions said, will be po­si­tioned to ad­dress the chal­lenges that stem from de­liv­er­ing health­care in ru­ral ar­eas, such as provider short­ages, a lack of spe­cialty care and an ag­ing pop­u­la­tion with chronic con­di­tions.

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