The Establishment and Project Review Committee for the state Public Health and Health Planning Council (PHHPC) reviewed and approved the application for UPMC Chautauqua Services Inc. to become the active parent and cooperator of WCA.
Prior to acting on the agreement, the Jamestown Post-Journal reports that there was a public hearing and representatives from three unions were on hand to speak against the merger, questioning UPMC about its insurance agreements and access to health care. The controller of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania also spoke against the merger, criticizing UPMC for exploiting loopholes and manipulating the health care system to drive out competition.
Despite the concerns, the board moved forward with approving the agreement with one member explaining that no alternative options have been suggested by those who oppose the merger.
“We are very excited and appreciative of the state’s approval to move forward,” said WCA president/CEO Betsy Wright. “This is a great day for WCA and UPMC and more importantly, the citizens that we are so privileged to serve in southern Chautauqua County. We are one more step closer to the integration of the two health systems. We continue to work through the final regulatory process which is contingent upon approvals from the New York State Office of Mental Health and New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.”
According to WCA Hospital, the next regulatory steps include approvals from the New York State Office of Mental Health and Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.
In December, WCA and UPMC officials announced the signing of an affiliation to integrate agreement. Once finalized, WCA Hospital will be the first New York state hospital to integrate with UPMC.
Once an agreement has been finalized, the new title for the health care facility will be UPMC Chautauqua at WCA.