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Hospital personnel see improvements with mergers

April 12, 2011
By Ashley Hill ( , The Marietta Times

When multiple hospitals join together, forming one large health care system, not only are patients affected but personnel is as well.

Marietta Memorial and Selby General hospitals in Marietta joined together about three years ago, forming the Memorial Health System.

In Parkersburg, Camden-Clark Memorial and St. Joseph's hospitals recently partnered, resulting in the creation of the Camden-Clark Medical Center.

Jennifer Offenberger, director of marketing and public relations for the Memorial Health System, said the merger has been a "great thing" for employees, now numbering 2,500, including 145 physicians.

The merger has resulted in the growth of some departments, she said. When per-merger some departments within the hospitals had only one or two people working in them, they now have several.

"You're not the only one trying to get something accomplished-you have support," Offenberger said.

Fact Box

Personnel impact:

There are 2,500 employees in the Memorial Health System.

There are 2,256 employees in the Camden-Clark Medical Center.

As part of the terms of the Camden-Clark and St. Joseph's Hospital merger, employees at St. Joseph's were required to re-apply for their jobs. There were 750 applications submitted and all but four were accepted under the medical center umbrella.

The merger of Marietta Memorial and Selby General hospitals has resulted in additional employees being added to some departments.

Additionally, she said the merger has meant there are more opportunities for staff members to advance and develop their careers because they now have the ability to move around within two facilities.

Offenberger also pointed out that through the joining of both hospitals, physician recruitment efforts have been "enhanced."

"Some of these physicians have trained at the most respectable institutions and they've chosen to practice here," she said. "As you continue to build a strong system with good people and good support services, then that continues to attract high quality physicians and nurses and other professionals."

As part of the terms of the Camden-Clark and St. Joseph's merger, employees at St. Joseph's were required to re-apply for their jobs.

"We received more than 750 applications and all except four were accepted under that (medical center) umbrella and these employees were brought in with the same seniority, their existing paid time off and better benefits to include retirement benefits," said marketing director Greg Smith.

Those St. Joseph's employees who were accepted under the Camden-Clark Medical Center umbrella lost the sick time they had accumulated.

"Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital does not have a sick leave program-it was a Signature (Hospital Corporation) benefit," he said.

Prior to the merger, St. Joseph's Hospital belonged to the Signature Hospital Corporation.

Smith said the merger will greatly benefit physicians who work in the system.

"Physicians now have the same privileges at both campuses that they might have had at only one or the other before, and we picked up about 36 new physicians in the Camden-Clark Medical Center structure," he said.

Smith noted that as many as 20 new positions could be created as a result of the merger because St. Joseph's Hospital used to outsource its billing and collection services to Virginia, and that will now be done in-house.

Smith also said the merger will likely save about $10 million in the first year.

"Management positions will be downsized," he said. "People will be moved around to better utilize them and decisions will be made primarily on seniority."



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