Doylestown Health has signed a letter of intent with the University of Pennsylvania Health System to become part of regional Penn Medicine.
The planned merger of one of the Philadelphia region’s few remaining independent community hospitals and one of the region’s largest health systems was announced late Thursday afternoon.
There had been rumors in recent months that Doylestown Health, which is nonprofit, had been looking for a partner, according to a source who works on the business side of a large regional health system.
In a statement, Doylestown Health, which operates Doylestown Hospital, the only hospital in Central Bucks County, said they share values with Penn Medicine and a “commitment to serving patients across all four sites of care – in hospitals, outpatient facilities, in the home, and via telemedicine.”
The two health systems said Thursday’s announcement is a first step in a months-long process.
The health systems will undergo due diligence and then move forward with “definitive agreements.” State and federal regulators will also have a say.
The two health systems said the merger would set the stage for the development of new clinical programs and enhanced services.
“We are excited to explore this opportunity with Doylestown Health, which has a strong, historic commitment to patients in the Northern region of the areas we serve,” University of Pennsylvania Health System CEO Kevin B. Mahoney.
Doylestown Health President and CEO James Brexler said the hospital will continue to “provide patients the highest quality of care, close to home.”
He added: “As we begin our second century, our boards of trustees are excited about how this partnership with Penn Medicine will further expand Doylestown Health’s ability to deliver clinical excellence and positively impact the health and well-being of the communities we have faithfully served for more than 100 years.”
If all goes according to plan, Doylestown Hospital would become the seventh Penn Medicine hospital. Included in the system are three hospitals in Philadelphia, Chester County Hospital, Lancaster General Health, and Princeton Health.
The Doylestown Intelligencer reported in 2023 that Doylestown Health reported operating losses $24.3 million in 2022. The newspaper said the hospital had to cover close to $70 million in pandemic losses.
Previous to COVID-19, the health system was reported to have earned small profits.
Doylestown Health sold the Pine Run Retirement Community to Presbyterian Senior Living for more than $80 million and earned $35 million in proceeds earlier this year, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal.
Doylestown Health has close to 3,000 employees and is the third largest employer in Bucks County.
The news comes weeks after Jefferson Health and Lehigh Valley Health network announced a planned merger. The health systems would operated Jefferson Bucks Hospital in Falls Township.
Lower Bucks Hospital in Bristol Township is presently for sale by for-profit owner Prime Healthcare.