Suffolk, VA - September 26, 2005 - Obici Health System of Suffolk and Norfolk-based Sentara Healthcare have agreed to a merger. The boards of directors of both organizations have signed a letter of intent.
"We chose to affiliate with Sentara because of the high quality healthcare they provide and they are locally-based," says J. Samuel Glasscock, Chairman of the Board of Obici Health System. "Sentara's leadership understands where we came from and the importance of community-based care."
(Below you will find a summary of the information shared with Obici employees, physicians and community leaders)
"Suffolk is not losing Obici Hospital," Glasscock is quick to add. "We are gaining the resources and award-winning programs of Sentara Healthcare that will ensure high quality healthcare for our patients in the years ahead."
The current economics of health care make it difficult for independent community hospitals like Obici to survive, Glasscock says. A large, integrated system like Sentara offers services, technology and financial strength that we simply cannot achieve as an independent hospital.
Historic name to remain, innovative services to be added
Sentara respects the legacy of Amedeo and Louise Obici, whose generosity helped start this great community hospital, says Sentara CEO David L. Bernd.
"We'll maintain that historic link with the name Sentara Obici Hospital."
Bernd adds, "This merger will ensure that quality healthcare will be a part of the Suffolk and western Tidewater area for generations to come as the Obicis had intended. Sentara Home Care already serves many patients in the Suffolk area and more than 400 Sentara employees call Suffolk home. We look forward to being a greater part of the community."
In addition, the Obici Foundation will remain independent and receive a substantial sum of money to be used for programs to improve the health of our community, such as care and medicine for the indigent, diabetes control, hypertension management and reduction in teen pregnancy and drug treatment. Sentara Healthcare will assume all of the outstanding debt of Obici Health System.
Discussions of healthcare challenges led to merger talks
Leaders from Obici and Sentara got together informally in the fall of 2004 to discuss current challenges in healthcare, including low reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid, charity care, purchasing costs and possible business opportunities.
One thing led to another, says Glasscock, and pretty soon combining our two systems made perfect sense.
Obici employees welcome with Sentara
Sentara Healthcare ranks among the best places to work in Hampton Roads, according to Inside Business magazine. Sentara plans no layoffs, and years of service related to Obicis retirement system will be preserved.
Facts about Obici Health System
Obici Health Systems headquarters is the modern 138-bed Obici Hospital on Route 10 in Suffolk. The new hospital, built on the Planetree model of patient-centered care, replaced an older facility dating back to the 1950s. Obici Health System serves Western Tidewater with four physician practices, five rehabilitation and physical therapy centers, occupational medicine and a community-based practical nursing curriculum.
Facts about Sentara Healthcare
Sentara Healthcare is the premier provider of hospital and healthcare services in Southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, featuring six hospitals, Level I trauma center, the Sentara Heart Hospital (2006), the first operational eICU system in the nation, Nightingale helicopter ambulance, primary care practices, a 238-member physician group, two integrated cancer centers, ten nursing homes and assisted living communities, three advanced imaging centers with digital same-day reporting, a physical therapy and rehabilitation network, the 325,000-member Optima Health Plan, home care services, Medical Transport fleet and the regions only comprehensive organ transplant program.
Preserving Community Healthcare for the Future
Reasons for the Obici Health System and Sentara Healthcare Merger
We must focus on the fact that our goal is to deliver quality healthcare, not simply to maintain any particular ownership arrangement. In order to carry out the wishes of Mr. Amedeo Obici, we must use the same kind of business judgment he would have used in meeting the purpose of his generosity.
The operation of a hospital is extremely complex, involving adherence to many changing rules, regulations and standards. A larger system, rather than a small independent hospital is better able to have the expertise to manage these complex issues successfully.
A hospital system has a better opportunity to protect the economic strength and viability of the hospital and its medical staff through lower costs for supplies and securing capital to continue to purchase modern equipment.
As a large integrated organization, Sentara has nationally recognized quality improvement technology and professionals on staff, which stand-alone hospitals like Obici cannot afford. These additional resources enable physicians and other clinical leadership to more easily obtain quality of care data quickly and accurately.
Sentara Healthcare has never had a layoff and there are no plans with this merger. The vast majority of the staff will continue to perform their present duties. A small number may transfer to other positions. The merger will also provide staff with greater opportunities for personal and professional growth.
As with other Sentara mergers, medical staff credentialing will still be handled at Obici Hospital; equipment and facilities will be upgraded and all healthcare professionals will be given the opportunity to share best practices with others throughout the Sentara organization.
The services currently provided at Obici will be continued and new services added to maintain a full service hospital in our community.
We will retain the Obici name and ensure ongoing community input with an Obici Advisory Board, representation of two Obici community members on the Sentara Healthcare board of directors and four members on the Sentara Healthcare board of trustees.
Sentara Healthcare will assume all of the outstanding debt of Obici Health System. In addition, the Obici Foundation will remain independent and receive a substantial sum of money to be used for programs to improve the health of our community such as care and medicine for the indigent, diabetes control, hypertension management and reduction in teen pregnancy and drug treatment.
In summary, the merger offers the best assurance for the provision of quality healthcare in our region for the future.