RMH To Affiliate With Sentara

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.”

Both RMH and Sentara are not-for-profit organizations. Sentara also owns insurance company Optima Health.

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.

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4 Responses to “RMH To Affiliate With Sentara”

  1. blondiesez says:

    Sure, Sentara offers all these things . . . . absolutely NOWHERE NEAR HERE. Their closest facility to H’burg is in Woodbridge (and that’s a relatively recent development). So you mean to tell me that they’re going to start referring local patients to specialists in Hampton Roads? This is all about finances, not patient care. Wonder who’s gonna grab Augusta Health, and what happens to Bath Community Hospital’s “Valiance” alliance.

    • Emmy says:

      I would assume this means that Sentara is just expanding their area, not that it means that they’ll be referring patients out of the area. I would guess things would operate the same way they do now with the addition of technology and resources that they cannot currently afford. I think it may mean that RMH will eventually be able to provide some of the services that we currently have to travel to UVA for.

      • Bazrik says:

        Yeah, that seems more like it. Blondie, you may have a bit of an overreaction here. Your scenario sounds a little unrealistic, and that Renees sounds more plausible.

  2. The Hook reports Martha Jefferson Hospital will merge with Sentara.

    “… They certainly have been on a tear acquiring hospitals,” says Tom Brown, an attorney with McGuireWoods specializing in healthcare mergers…

    Approval of the deal will take about six months.

    With health care reform, more hospital mergers are likely. “What’s happening is very common,” says Brown. “Hospitals account for one of the least consolidated industries in the country.”

    Via http://www.readthehook.com/blog/index.php/2010/09/29/martha-jefferson-expected-to-announce-merger/

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