Access to Care Is Basis for Seeking More Jameson Proposals

NEW CASTLE, Pa. – Asking Jameson Health System to seek more purchase proposals before settling on UPMC was a matter of ensuring that prices won’t rise for those it serves.

So said a spokesman for the office of the Pennsylvania attorney general Thursday.

“Our public protection lawyers have seen some competitive issues that may arise from the merger,” Jeffery Johnson said. “Our role is to ensure that consumers still have access to affordable health care. It’s our job to see if there will be any spikes in prices.”

What happens to Jameson’s charitable assets is also a concern, he added.

The request for more proposals was “part of our review of the issue,” Johnson said, noting he’s unsure whether a formal document was created.

Jameson is the only hospital in Lawrence County, Pa. UPMC also operates a cancer center here.

The attorney general’s office put together a list of other potential buyers that Jameson Health System could contact, but the list “was not a mandate,” Johnson said, and the list is not available to the public.

On Wednesday, Jameson announced it would accept purchase proposals for 30 days (READ STORY). UPMC said its offer would remain on the table until Dec. 31.

Johnson said no timeline has been set by the attorney general’s office for what would happen once all proposals are submitted.

“I don’t think we’re quite there yet. The Jameson folks announced that they put out a [request for proposals] list seeking potential buyers and that’s where things stand right now,” he said. “[The next step] is dependent on the RFP process and what the results are.”

With Jameson ailing financially – last year, it reported expenses of $110 million but income of only $105 million – time is an important factor for any potential merger, which the attorney general’s office is aware of, Johnson said.

UPMC has agreed to commit nearly $70 million into the Jameson system should it execute it offer. On Aug. 20, Jameson closed its maternity care center and while its South Campus remains open, it was slated to close this month. The closing was pushed back to an undetermined date.

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