Adventist Health System and University Community Health Sign Letter of Intent to Explore Partnership

Adventist Health System (AHS) and University Community Health (UCH) have signed a non-binding Letter of Intent to explore a possible merger of the two healthcare systems.  By joining Adventist Health System, UCH would increase access to physicians and medical specialists as well as become part of the largest Protestant healthcare system in the nation.

AHS and UCH formed a joint venture in February 2007 to build the Wesley Chapel Medical Center, a healthcare complex in Pasco County, and the strength of that relationship prompted the Boards of both organizations to explore full merger possibilities.

“AHS and UCH are committed to enhancing the accessibility and quality of medical care to the Tampa Bay area,” said Don Jernigan, President/CEO of Adventist Health System.  “Long term planning is essential to the success of healthcare systems and we believe our patients, employees and communities will all be blessed from bringing these systems together.”

“After working so closely together on the joint venture for the past three years, we have decided to explore opportunities that allow us to deliver heightened healthcare services to our expanding patient population.  It helps that we already are working together and have like-minded missions that stress patient-centered service,” said Norm Stein, President/CEO of UCH.

On June 15, 2007 the Agency for Health Care Administration approved the AHS/UCH proposal to create an 80-bed community hospital in Wesley Chapel.  Since that time, AHS and UCH have worked closely to plan and implement better approaches to patient care and to increase community outreach.  This non-binding Letter of Intent allows both Boards to explore additional ways to take this successful partnership to a new level.

“It is too early in the due diligence process to share any concrete details,” said Mike Schultz, President/CEO of Adventist Health System’s Florida Region.  “What I can confirm is that both systems are focused on uninterrupted quality care to our patients and dedicated to the service of our employees.”

About Adventist Health System

Adventist Health System is a not-for-profit healthcare organization that emphasizes Christ at the center of care. Founded in 1973, Adventist Health System has quickly grown to become the largest not-for-profit Protestant healthcare provider in the nation.  Today, Adventist Health System supports 37 hospitals and employs 50,000 individuals. Adventist Health System hospitals are comprised of 6,600 plus licensed beds, providing care for 4 million patients each year in inpatient, outpatient and emergency room visits.

About University Community Health

For many years, the local hospitals that comprise University Community Health have given the Tampa Bay community friendly, accessible, quality health care. The hospitals of University Community Health are: University Community Hospital, UCH-Carrolwood and Pepin Heart Hospital in Tampa, Helen Ellis Memorial Hospital in Tarpon Springs, and the Long Term Acute Care Hospital in central Pasco County. Combined, UCH’s five hospitals have almost 150 years of health care experience. That knowledge, along with the newest state-of-the-art technology, provides the community with the highest levels of care.