Geisinger Jersey Shore coming

KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette Jersey Shore Hospital at 1020 Thompson Street in Jersey Shore on Wednesday morning.

JERSEY SHORE — In a joint statement Wednesday, it was announced that Jersey Shore Hospital will be becoming a Geisinger facility.

“With all the challenges facing health care today, especially in Pennsylvania, these small independent facilities like Jersey Shore … it’s really difficult to thrive without becoming part of a larger system,” said David A. Shannon, president and CEO of Jersey Shore Hospital.

Thomas Sokola, Geisinger Central Hub chief administrative officer, said the new name for the hospital has not been decided on yet, but he said likely Geisinger Jersey Shore.

Jersey Shore will keep its independent license, but Geisinger will assume all of its assets and liability, according to Sokola.

“They are separately licensed as a hospital, but they will be a Geisinger facility, 100 percent owned and operated by the Geisinger Foundation, which is our corporate controlling entity,” Sokola said.

Shannon credited the staff and employees of the Jersey Shore Hospital as the reason the hospital was able to remain independent for as long as it has.

“Without them, we would not be able to become what we are today or remain independent for as long as we have,” he said. “We’re confident we found the right organization in Geisinger, and at this point, we’re ready to move forward together.”

Shannon said the hospital has 25 beds and was designated as a Critical Access Hospital by the state and the Medicare program. He said that Jersey Shore Hospital’s nearly 300 employees and 12 physicians and physician assistants now will be part of the 30,000 estimated Geisinger employee system.

“We’ve had experienced operating losses over the last few years. We recognized those losses were going to mount up in the future … We wanted to make sure we did something proactive so when it came time to replace our equipment that we had a partner,” Shannon said. “This worked out really well… It allowed us to solve potential financial problems in the future (that) we saw coming, and it allowed us more high quality recruitment of care.”

Sokola said it will take a few months before the hospital will be integrated into the Geisinger system.

“We’re so excited to have Jersey Shore joining the Geisinger Health System,” Sokola said. “We’ve got to go through some regulatory reviews yet… sometime this summer, (it will be) part of the Geisinger Health System.”

He said the Jersey Shore Hospital provides a great service to the community.

“We’ve been very impressed by their physicians, their employees … We know they provide very high quality care,” Sokola said.

He said that Geisinger previously has taken smaller, independent hospitals into the Geisinger family, such as Bloomsburg, Shamokin and Lewistown. As they already are familiar with the process, the same thing will take place at Jersey Shore.

“We look forward to a similar experience with Jersey Shore. We hope to enhance the care they provide there,” Sokola said. “Really, to keep care local as much as we can, and obviously if care is needed at a higher level, we’ve got those services in our system.”

He said this is not a new service area for Geisinger, with physician offices operated in Clinton County since 1986 and Lycoming County since 1994.

“We look forward to integrating our services to Jersey Shore … We believe we can keep care local and that we can provide to Jersey Shore the right level of care they need as they access us at any point in our service area,” Sokola said.