Decision comes following a very deliberate and thorough discernment process conducted by the executive leadership team, ministry Board of Directors and its public juridic person

 Bon Secours Health System today announced that it will be exiting acute and outpatient care in the Ashland and Tri-state communities by the end of September 2020 resulting in the closure of Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital (OLBH), system-owned care sites and its physician network Bellefonte Physician Services.

 For more than a year, the ministry has been talking with hospitals and health systems to address the health care needs of the community, with the ultimate goal of improved outcomes and cost-effective care.  In addition, robust efforts have been taken to help sustain hospital operations. While these efforts offered temporary benefit, they are not enough to effectively operate in an environment that has multiple acute care facilities competing for the same patients, providers and services.

This difficult decision follows a very deliberate and thorough discernment process conducted by the executive leadership team, the ministry’s Board of Directors and its public juridic person - the health care system’s sponsoring organization which oversees the system’s mission and ensures it is carried out according to Catholic principles.

The group worked to determine how the ministry could best care for the community as a whole, understanding that change and evolution are essential in a transforming industry and that sometimes the way a system has cared for communities in the past is not the best way moving forward. The discernment process is designed to ensure that all decisions are made on the basis of the ministry’s Mission, Values and commitment to Catholic Social Teaching.

“We take the responsibility that comes with this decision very seriously, and we do not go into it lightly.

We commit to working closely with our associates to share timely and transparent information, especially as it relates to the transition of services, employment opportunities and career fairs,” said Jason Asic, OLBH interim president. “We’ll work diligently to ensure opportunities across the ministry are made available, and we will work closely with area employers to identify opportunities close to home. In addition, we are establishing partnerships across the Tri-state to help those who may want to explore a different career.

“While this transition is underway, we will continue to serve our patients with compassion and dignity, and we remain focused on our founding congregations’ steadfast commitment to ensuring that compassionate care is available for each of our patients, communities and associates – especially in times of need. We are exploring additional ways that we can support our community’s needs going forward.”

Providers will work with their patients individually to ensure a smooth continuity of care, and more information will be provided in the coming months. In the interim, care will continue as normal.