D.C. Hospital Will Merge With Johns Hopkins Medicine

… Sibley Memorial deal approved by regulators Thursday …


By Liz F. Kay, The Baltimore Sun

4:39 PM EDT, October 28, 2010

Washington regulators have approved plans to integrate Sibley Memorial Hospital with Johns Hopkins Medicine, a health department spokeswoman said.

Johns Hopkins has been pursuing for months an acquisition of 328-bed Sibley Memorial Hospital — a deal that would give the Baltimore-based institution its first hospital in Washington. The deal — approved by Sibley’s board Wednesday night — was approved by Washington’s State Health Planning and Development Agency Thursday, according to a spokeswoman.

Sibley spokeswoman Sheliah Roy said that final paperwork would be signed to complete the deal early next week.

The Johns Hopkins medical system has been steadily expanding its reach. It operates Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in East Baltimore, as well as Howard County General Hospital in Columbia.

In addition, the system struck merger deals with Suburban Hospital in Bethesda last year and All Children’s Hospital & Health System in Tampa, Fla. in July. The deal between the two hospitals is a non-cash transaction that’s expected to close by the end of the year.

Johns Hopkins executives said at the time of the Tampa deal that the All Children’s acquisition did not signal an aggressive or out-of-state expansion strategy. Rather, they said, they were approached by executives from All Children’s three years ago.

The acquisitions “permit Hopkins to realize a regional integrated network of high-quality health care facilities that serve residents in their communities,” said Hopkins spokesman John Lazarou in a written statement. There are currently no further acquisition plans beyond what’s been publicly announced, he said.

The recession has driven some mergers, as hospitals struggled financially and banded together to weather the downturn. More than 50 hospital mergers happened in 2009, according to Irving Levin Associates, and more than two dozen have been announced this year.

SHPDA held a public hearing on the matter on Oct. 14, a Washington Department of Health spokeswoman said. The Federal Trade Commission also approved the Johns Hopkins-Sibley deal, Roy said.

If approved, Sibley would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Hopkins Medicine. No money will be exchanged as part of the deal, she said.

The Washington hospital would retain its name and staff would remain the same, Roy said, although Hopkins plans to hire more primary-care physicians.

“We will be able to take advantage of some of the resources that Hopkins can bring to the table,” she said, including clinical trials.

Johns Hopkins is also a center for geriatric research, which complements the direct care to seniors offered at Sibley’s assisted living centers and Alzheimer’s unit, the spokeswoman said.

“We have a lot of experience caring for geriatric patients,” she said. “To combine the two is something that is appealing.”

Sibley is set to open a new medical office building as well as a new all-private room hospital on its campus, Roy said.

This deal puts Hopkins in the midst of a competitive market among top-flight medical schools, such as Georgetown and George Washington, said Joshua Nezmoff, a hospital mergers and acquisitions consultant based in New Hope, Pa.

“You’ve got some very high quality hospitals that are already in Washington,” he said. “Hopkins is going to a marketplace where there’s already a certain amount of quality.”

However, Hopkins’ strong brand will certainly attract customers, he said, particularly because they could also drive directly to the main hospital in Baltimore.

“They’re going to get patients just because they’re Hopkins, and people are going to come there,” he said.


Copyright © 2010, The Baltimore Sun

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