By Jason KUROSU
After reports that Verdugo Hills Hospital was considering partnerships with other hospitals, including USC’s Keck Medical Center and Glendale Adventist Medical Center, Verdugo Hills has now entered into merger discussions with USC.
Verdugo Hills spokeswoman Celine Petrossian and Keck spokeswoman Alison Trinidad both confirmed that talks were underway.
Press releases from both hospitals stated, “The Verdugo Hills Hospital board of directors at its June meeting voted to initiate merger discussions with USC. This could possibly lead to an affiliation with the Keck Medical Center of USC by the end of 2012.”
Verdugo Hills, an independent hospital since its inception 40 years ago, expressed interest in partnering with other hospitals in March, stating that the hospital would begin “exploring strategic opportunities for affiliation and partnerships that would improve our ability to meet the challenges of healthcare reform and preserve our future relevancy to the residence of the Foothill communities we serve.”
Some of these challenges of healthcare reform may refer to President Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act, which will penalize hospitals who have high readmission rates for patients, particularly those patients who have been readmitted 30 days after being discharged. These hospitals will have Medicare reimbursements docked starting in 2013 and many smaller hospitals are partnering with other hospitals to combat lower revenue.
Glendale Adventist President Kevin Roberts expressed disappointment that they are no longer involved in merger discussions.
“We are very disappointed in this decision,” Roberts stated. “We have a deep knowledge of local healthcare needs and a long history providing high-quality healthcare to the residents of Glendale and the Foothill communities.”
Earlier this year, Roberts said that he thought Glendale Adventist was the best fit for a merger with Verdugo Hills, saying, “Because of the proximity between the two hospitals, and the reputations of both, there really is no hospital better suited for this.”