West Virginia's Mon Health System, CAMC unveil merger plans

Mon Health System and Charleston Area Medical Center Health System (CAMC) have signed a letter of intent to merge into a single organization, the West Virginia systems announced Thursday.

The systems said they will be filing for a certificate of need with the West Virginia Health Care Authority on April 15 and hope to close their transaction “as soon as possible,” according to the announcement.  

They also plan to adopt “Vandalia Health” as the umbrella brand for their combined systems, a name they said allows “each facility to maintain its unique historical identity.”

“The history and tradition of our respective hospitals, and the renowned clinical providers in our communities, will help propel the success of this partnership,” David S. Goldberg, president and CEO of Mon Health System, said in a statement. “We look forward to working together to expand access to highest quality, affordable care for West Virginians, close to home.”

Mon Health System includes the flagship Mon Health Medical Center, Mon Health Preston Memorial, Mon Health Stonewall Jackson Memorial and the affiliated Grafton City Hospital alongside primary care, urgent care and other health centers and services. It has the second-largest market share in the state, behind West Virginia University Hospital, and extends its services to parts of Pennsylvania and Maryland.

CAMC is a 956-bed regional referral center staffed by nearly 8,000 employees and over 700 physicians with admitting privileges, according to its website. Its 2020 financial statement lists nearly $1.3 billion in unrestricted revenue and other support.

The systems already had a clinical affiliation agreement in place for some services but say that the merger will help manage healthcare costs while improving care quality, scale and access for patients.

“Combining the strengths and unique attributes of two established and well-regarded health systems advances the best interests of West Virginia patients and families whose lives and well-being depend upon our services,” David L. Ramsey, CEO and president of CAMC Health System, said in a statement.

Speaking to layoff concerns, Mon Health and CAMC said they are both “hiring continuously to meet the needs of their patients” and expect to continue doing so going forward.

The deal has already picked up support from U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, who released a separate statement highlighting the decades of “quality healthcare” both organizations have provided to his constituents.

“Today’s announcement is the beginning of a new era for healthcare in the Mountain State, and will further help to improve access to healthcare in our rural areas,” Manchin said in the statement. “As CAMC and Mon Health transition to a new single healthcare system called Vandalia Health, I will help in every way possible to ensure West Virginians continue to receive the quality care they have come to expect and to support the hardworking teams at both CAMC and Mon Health throughout the transition.”