According to a joint press release from Lancaster Health Center and Welsh Mountain Health Centers, both organizations will be merging.
According to the release, the boards of the two organizations “unanimously approved” the merger on Oct. 29 after “months of due diligence and discussion.”
LHC and WMHC currently provide primary care, dental care, behavioral health, and social services throughout Lancaster and Lebanon counties. Combined, they report serving over 35,000 patients across their locations.
While LHC does not have Lebanon locations, WMHC currently has two: Lebanon Community Health Center on 920 Church St., and Welsh Mountain Health Centers on 101 South Ninth St.
“To blend services rather than compete for funding and duplicate efforts is an ideal fit for our patients,” said LHC Board Chair David Kreider in the release.
WMHC Board Chair Dr. Vincent Glielmi acknowledged in the release that “accessible and affordable healthcare is a challenge across Lancaster and Lebanon Counties, and it’s important for our patients that both of our organizations come together and share one mission so that we can provide a stronger network of care.”
Both organizations are Federally Qualified Health Centers, and thus receive funds from the Health Resource & Services Administration. Therefore the merger requires state government approval, which will take a few months. The new name of the merged organization will be announced by the end of the year as well, according to LHC Chief Communication Officer Nicole Specht.
In order to explore this merger, the Lancaster County Community Foundation had provided the two organizations with a $20,000 partnership grant. Lancaster County Community Foundation Director of Programs David Koser commended the leadership of both organizations for taking the step to do “what’s best for the community.”
“A brand new-vision can be cast and residents benefit,” said Koser in the release.
Current LHC President & CEO Alisa Jones will remain CEO once the merger is complete. WMHC CEO Jackie Concepcion will transition to the role of Vice President of Community Initiatives.
Specht clarified there is no point of contact for current patients wishing to ask about the merger. However, she stated that all patients from both organizations have been sent a letter with the information, and that they will be updated as the merger takes shape.
“Our purpose will remain,” Specht adds. “We are committed to caring for and embracing the unique needs, cultures, values, and preferences of our patients and communities. We will continue to care for patients with no insurance, commercial insurance, Medical Assistance or Medicare. We will also continue our Sliding Fee Discount Program, which offers a discounted rate or nominal fee for medical and preventive dental services offered at our centers based on household income and size.”
Specht also stated that existing locations will continue to provide their services, and patients can call the same number as usual to schedule an appointment.
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