The Boards of Directors of both J. C. Blair Health System, Inc. and Penn Highlands Healthcare have signed a Letter of Intent, or LOI, to negotiate an affiliation agreement between the two entities that would integrate J. C. Blair into the Penn Highlands Healthcare system.

J. C. Blair underwent an extensive Request for Proposal, or RFP, process and previously signed an LOI with Post Acute Medical, LLC, earlier this year. Despite best intentions from both parties, it became apparent after further discussions that the long-term strategic vision for the hospital no longer aligned and no longer fit the guiding principles as outlined by the J. C. Blair Board at the beginning of the process. During the past few months, it became evident that Penn Highlands, also a part of the original RFP process, would be a better long-term partner to meet the healthcare needs of the community.

According to J. C. Blair Board Chairman Fred Price, “Through the due diligence process, Post Acute Medical and J.C. Blair realized that merging would not produce the best outcomes for either organization – it just wasn’t a good fit. We believe that Penn Highlands Healthcare is a good fit.”

The affiliation with Penn Highlands, which is expected to take effect in early 2019, is designed to strengthen the delivery of healthcare services by the Huntingdon County based health care provider. The board’s key objectives that guided the search for a new partner included:

Continue the mission, vision and values of J. C. Blair Health System
Maintain and expand key programs and services
Attract and retain high-quality physicians in a wide range of specialties
Preserve jobs in Huntingdon County, provide competitive wages, benefits and retirement plans
Provide the necessary capital to support quality and growth
Maintain a meaningful role in local governance of the hospital

The mission of Penn Highlands Healthcare is to provide exceptional care through its community-based health system while maintaining a reverence for life. “That mission is an outstanding fit for our organization,” said Price. “J. C. Blair has always been committed to providing the highest standard of care for the residents of our local communities. Penn Highlands Healthcare’s culture matches our culture.”

“An affiliation with Penn Highlands Healthcare will allow a greater opportunity for J. C. Blair to continue to grow and remain a leader in the provision of health care services as well as maintain its role as a major employer in this region,” added Joe Myers, Interim President/CEO of J. C. Blair Health System.

According to Ron King, Chairman of the Penn Highlands Healthcare Board, “The affiliation of J. C. Blair will expand the geographic footprint of the Penn Highlands Healthcare system while strengthening its ability to recruit providers and expand upon many of its specialty services. We are excited to have J. C. Blair join our health system as our fifth acute care facility.”

“We are thrilled to be working toward a partnership with J. C. Blair,” said Steve Fontaine, CEO of Penn Highlands Healthcare. “As with all of our affiliated hospitals, we know J. C. Blair will be successful at sharing our vision to be the integrated health system of choice through excellent quality, service and outcomes.”

The signing of the letter of intent means that J. C. Blair Health System and Penn Highlands Healthcare have agreed to general terms and conditions of a prospective affiliation. Throughout the next several months, both parties will engage in additional due diligence, research and discussions to work toward a definitive agreement. This process is subject to customary regulatory review.

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About JC Blair Health System

J.C. Blair Health System is the healthcare leader in Huntingdon County, serving the community’s healthcare needs and striving to deliver the best outcome for every patient for over 100 years. The Health System includes J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital, a 62-bed, non-profit community hospital; J.C. Blair Medical Services which employs specialty physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners; and J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital Foundation. With an active medical staff of nearly 40 physicians, over 400 employees, and more than 40 active volunteers, J.C. Blair is the only hospital in rural Huntingdon County, serving over 45,000 permanent county residents. Its key service lines include a newly renovated and expanded emergency department, an urgent care center, a heart catheterization lab, orthopedics, surgical services, gastroenterology, and integrated behavioral health services, as well as an intensive care unit, medical/surgical unit, full service medical laboratory with several outlying lab locations, cardiopulmonary and radiology departments, and a wound healing center. For more information, visit J.C. Blair’s website at www.jcblair.org.

About Penn Highlands Healthcare

Penn Highlands Healthcare was officially formed on September 30, 2011, and is comprised of four hospitals – Penn Highlands Brookville, Penn Highlands Clearfield, Penn Highlands DuBois and Penn Highlands Elk that have served area communities for the past 100 years. Its business continuum also includes a home care agency, Penn Highlands Community Nurses; a long-term care facility, Pinecrest Manor; and a senior residential living facility, Elco Glen.

Through this partnership, Penn Highlands Healthcare has evolved into an organization with approximately 3,582 workers in 100+ locations throughout 12 counties in North Central/Western Pennsylvania that include community medical buildings, outpatient facilities, surgery centers and physician practices.

Providing exceptional quality care to the region, it has 341 physicians and 126 advanced practice providers on staff. The facilities have a total of 484 inpatient beds. The system offers a wide-range of care and treatments with specialty units that care for cancer, cardiovascular/thoracic, lung, neonatal and high-risk pregnancy patients.

Being focused on what is important – patients and families – makes Penn Highlands Healthcare the best choice in the region. For more information, visit www.phhealthcare.org.