Community Health Systems forms 8-hospital network

Eight Northeastern Pennsylvania hospitals owned by Tennessee's Community Health Systems have formed a new regional health system called Commonwealth Health to unite resources, information and expertise, reported the Wilkes Barre Times-Leader. The new network also will include two physician groups and five home health and hospice agencies.

Before affiliating, some of the hospitals suffered from financial problems, while all eight had tax-exemptions, according to the system website. Now as part of Commonwealth Health, municipalities and counties will receive property taxes for the facilities. But the hospitals will continue to offer millions of dollars in discounted or free care.

"We are community hospitals first," Wyoming Valley Health Care System CEO Cornelio Catena said at last week's press conference, the Times-Leader noted. Catena will lead the new system as chief executive while keeping his other title.

The network's hospitals and healthcare providers will retain their names but add "an affiliate of Commonwealth Health" to highlight the new collaboration. The affiliated hospitals also will receive more than $250 million for upgrades and healthcare delivery improvements during the next five years.

And as a united network, prior competition will turn into teamwork, as the hospitals work together to increase access to care and meet patient needs across three counties.

For more information:
- read the Times-Leader article
- visit the new system's website