Union Health has signed an agreement to acquire Terre Haute Regional Hospital.
The deal will include Regional’s related businesses, physician clinic operations and outpatient services.
Pending regulatory review and approval, both parties will immediately begin the integration process, according to Union Health officials.
Terre Haute-based Union Health signed the agreement Tuesday with HCA Healthcare, which owns Regional. The acquisition won’t close until early 2024, said Steve Holman, Union Health president and CEO.
Terre Haute Regional has 662 employees.
“Today, we announced two strong teams, two medical teams in this community, coming together, Terre Haute Regional Hospital and Union Health, joining forces in signing an agreement that I think will be a milestone for this community,” Holman said Wednesday afternoon.
The community has ranked in the lower quarter to lower third for many health metrics. He believes that will improve with the acquisition.
“There is nothing more that will help change the trajectory of the health of our community, lowering costs, improving quality, than these two teams coming together,” he said.
Rebecca Lynch, Union Health chief medical officer, believes the changes mean “we are going to be able to increase our access to care, bring more specialties in … and hopefully recruit more physicians and more providers to the community.”
The dollar amount of the acquisition “is not public information,” Holman said.
Union Health human resources staff will work with Regional Hospital employees “to begin answering transition questions and extending job offers,” Union said in a news release.
Asked if any Regional employees will lose their jobs, Holman said, “Every one of them is going to have a position at the same or comparable pay.”
Many will have positions that are a “direct match … we’ll figure that out over coming months,” he said.
He met with Regional employees during town hall-style meetings Wednesday, “welcoming them into the system that we’re creating for health care.”
Those sessions had good attendance he said.
“I think there was a little bit of, ‘what is this and what does this mean.’ They had really good questions,” he said.
They also asked about pay and benefits. “We’re going to have a series of meetings over the coming weeks to help them with that,” he said.
They will be Union employees eligible for benefits and “all the seniority comes over,” he said.
Regional will remain a hospital, although it may undergo a name change, with community input, Holman said.
The next step in the process involves applying for COPA, or certificate of public advantage, through the Indiana Department of Health, Holman said.
Holman noted that HCA, based in Nashville, Tenn., is the largest for-profit health care chain in the nation.
Union is nonprofit, as will Regional be with the change.
Holman also was asked about some citizen concerns related to decreasing competition in health care locally.
“This is opportunity to offer more robust services than we ever have in the history of the Wabash Valley,” Holman said. Improved physician recruitment will mean more choices, he said.
He added, “We’ve always had pricing that is slightly less than the Indiana average. I don’t anticipate that changing.”
Holman noted that during the pandemic, “If we could have worked even more closely together, we would have done better in serving this community.”
Both institutions worked as hard as they could, “But there were silos,” he said. “If we break out of those silos, we come together, we’ll be a much stronger team.”
Terre Haute Regional Hospital will continue operations with no intention of interruptions throughout the transition, Union said in its news release. Both Regional and Union Health patients will continue to have access to their providers without disruption of care.
Mark Casanova, Terre Haute Regional Hospital CEO, issued the following statement:
“Terre Haute Regional Hospital and Union Health, both of which have long traditions of caring for residents of the Wabash Valley with compassion and excellence, have entered into an agreement by which the two hospitals will work together to advance comprehensive healthcare in this area.
“We believe the services offered by Terre Haute Regional Hospital and Union Health complement each other and will bring a more-unified approach to care that best serves families of the Wabash Valley — better together. In the meantime, we continue to focus on providing our patients with the high-quality care for which we are known.”
In December 2021, the Tribune-Star reported that Union Health and Terre Haute Regional Hospital were in discussions about a potential merger.
A new state law had been enacted to allow the hospitals to seek a merger.
Senate Enrolled Act 416, passed by the 2021 Indiana General Assembly, established a “certificate of public advantage” pertaining to the merger of trauma hospitals within rural counties. It was geared toward the two hospitals in Vigo County, state Rep. Alan Morrison said in 2021. tribstar.com