The Daily Item
A federal court on Thursday finalized an agreement between Evangelical Community Hospital, Geisinger, and the Department of Justice which will allow Geisinger to maintain a minority investment in the Union County-based independent hospital.
The judgment by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania resolves a Department of Justice lawsuit filed in August 2020. The ruling affirms an agreement that has been revised over more than a year of negotiations and reduces Geisinger’s minority investment in Evangelical to 7.5 percent.
“We are very pleased with today’s ruling,” said Kendra Aucker, president and CEO, Evangelical Community Hospital. “The agreement is truly in the best interest of the communities our health care organizations serve and it reaffirms our ability to remain an independent, community hospital.”
“We have always felt that our investment in Evangelical Community Hospital fostered healthy competition and helped improve our region’s access to high-quality, affordable care,” said Matt Walsh, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Geisinger. “Geisinger’s investment in Evangelical has received overwhelming community support and advances Evangelical’s important role as a vibrant, independent community hospital. We look forward to our continued progress on projects that benefit the health and wellbeing of our patients and the community at large.”
Geisinger’s minority investment supports Evangelical’s PRIME expansion — the Patient Room Improvement, Modernization and Enhancement project. The expansion opened in October 2020 featuring private rooms and bathrooms for patients. In addition, the second phase of the project — which opened in June 2021 — includes a renovated critical care unit.
The investment also supports Evangelical’s transition to an integrated electronic medical record system and co-ownership of the Miller Center.
Thursday’s ruling also paves the way for Evangelical services to continue at tier 1 status in the Geisinger Health Plan, meaning individuals with that coverage do not face higher out-of-pocket costs when seeking their care at Evangelical.
“It’s important to understand Evangelical remains an independent, community hospital dedicated to delivering the high-quality, compassionate care our community has come to expect of us,” Aucker said.