Brent Finnegan -- July 29th, 2010
Rockingham Memorial Hospital announced Thursday that they will “affiliate” with Norfolk-based Sentara, which operates eight hospitals, and more than 100 “care giving sites” in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. For RMH, this deal would end a nearly 100-year-run as an independent health organization in the Valley.
According to an official statement issued by RMH, the decision is at least in part economical.
The boards of directors of both organizations have signed a letter of intent that paves the way to move negotiations forward, according to RMH officials . . .
“We chose to affiliate with Sentara because it is, like RMH, a not-for-profit organization committed to delivering high-quality, community-based healthcare,” [said RMH Board Chair Barbara B. Stoltzfus]. “In addition, a large, integrated system like Sentara offers services, technology and financial strength that we simply cannot achieve as an independent hospital in such a turbulent healthcare environment.”
The deal is expected to become official “in the first months of 2011.”
UPDATE: Via email, I asked Debra Thompson, Director of RMH Corporate Communications, what “affiliate” means in this context. Here’s her response:
“Affiliate” in his context means RMH will join the eight other hospitals in the Sentara Healthcare system. We will continue to have local board representation on RMH’s Board as well as RMH positions on their Board of Directors and Board of Trustees. Sentara is not buying out RMH, nor will we be equal partners since we would be joining an eight-hospital system.