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Upper Chesapeake, University of Maryland Complete Merger

Upper Chesapeake Medical Center and Harford Memorial will get new names.

Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, Bel Air. (Patch File Photo)
Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, Bel Air. (Patch File Photo)

The University of Maryland Medical System announced Monday that it had completed a merger with Upper Chesapeake Health.

Effective Dec. 9, the Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air will be known as "University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health Medical Center" and Harford Memorial Hospital in Havre de Grace will be "University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital."

The organization Upper Chesapeake Health is now "University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health."

The merger comes at a time when health care reform is placing pressure on medical providers to increase efficiency while expanding offerings, according to Roger Scheider, M.D., chair of the board for Upper Chesapeake Health.

"The merger ... will enable Upper Chesapeake Health to address these challenges ... with the full backing, expertise and resources of a statewide system," Schneider said.

In 2009, Upper Chesapeake and the University of Maryland entered into a "strategic partnership agreement" that was expected to lead to a full merger by 2013, according to a press release at the time.

The agreement enabled Upper Chesapeake to receive millions of dollars to expand medical services, create jobs and build facilities as demand for health care grew in Harford County, where the population was aging pn and the number of military personnel was increasing.

Through its affiliation with the University of Maryland, Upper Chesapeake was able to increase its specialty care in the region, including the October opening of the Kaufman Cancer Center in Bel Air, and for residents to stay local for treatment, according to the University of Maryland Medical System.

Partnering with University of Maryland also allowed Upper Chesapeake to share services like finance, information technology and supply chain management, according to Upper Chesapeake CEO Lyle Sheldon.

The Dec. 9 merger expands the University of Maryland Medical System's footprint in Maryland, where it operates 12 hospitals across the state and two medical centers on the Eastern Shore.

"With the addition of Upper Chesapeake Health, we are furthering our goal of creating a statewide network of care that encompasses high quality community-based health providers ... tertiary health providers such as University of Maryland Medical Center and cutting-edge medical research performed by our partners at the University of Maryland School of Medicine," Robert A. Chrencik, president and chief executive officer of University of Maryland Medical System, said.

Upper Chesapeake Health—which has 3,000 employees and is the largest private employer in Harford County—will continue to be the local employer, according to a prepared statement from University of Maryland.

A spokeswoman for the University of Maryland Medical System said there were no anticipated changes to staffing or administration as a result of the merger.

"There will be significant focus on lowering cost, improving quality and delivering better long-term outcomes for patients and payers," University of Maryland Medical System spokeswoman Mary Lynn Carver said.


Jill Bracewell December 09, 2013 at 10:09 PM
I hope and pray that the nurses and techs don't lose their raises. When I worked at a hospital that shall remain nameless that merged with UofM, we lost raises for 3 years, including COLA to our salaries. They cut shift diff, overtime, etc, to "incorporate" the name to the hospital. Millions of dollars were spent on new CUPS and toothbrushes, while the old ones were thrown out. On a brighter note, maybe UCHS will get their s%$% together and save more lives than they lose. Maybe we will finally be approved to a Level 1 Trauma center, cutting down on the use of Trooper 1 for transport to Baltimore.
kathy kelly December 10, 2013 at 07:36 AM
I hope UCMC doesn't lose it's personal touch, and get bogged down in all the hoo-hah that comes when dealing with a huge corporation. My family and I have always been pleased with the care we've received at UCMC (and Fallston General before that). Their birthing center is top-notch.

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