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Hospitals in Scranton plan merger under one license

Commonwealth Health's Regional Hospital and Moses Taylor Hospital will consolidate operations later this year if approved by the state.

SCRANTON, Pa. — A major healthcare provider announced plans to combine two locations in the city of Scranton.

Regional Hospital of Scranton and Moses Taylor Hospital will operate under one license, according to a release from Commonwealth Health, the parent company of both facilities.

Commonwealth Health owns both Regional Hospital of Scranton and Moses Taylor Hospital. The company is now asking Pennsylvania's Department of Health for approval to bring both hospitals under the same umbrella.

Moses Taylor Hospital and Regional Hospital of Scranton, formerly Mercy Hospital, each stretch from Pine Street to East Gibson Street in Scranton. They're located just a few blocks apart. Now, executives from Commonwealth Health are asking the state health department for permission to consolidate the two hospitals under one license.

Moses Taylor Hospital sits just up the hill from Regional Hospital of Scranton. If Commonwealth Health's request is accepted, Regional would take care of surgeries, intensive care, and heart health, while Moses Taylor, long known for delivering newborns, would handle births and senior mental healthcare, combining each hospital's staff into one.

It's not yet clear if both buildings will operate independent emergency rooms or if those services will be diverted to a single facility. When we asked how this potential change could impact staffing, Commonwealth Health declined to provide any details, saying talks with the Pennsylvania Department of Health are in their earliest stages.

This isn't the first time Commonwealth Health has suggested conjoining its two Scranton hospitals. In 2017, the company announced an expansion that would build a pedestrian sky bridge between the two. While some of these lots in between were cleared, that plan never came to fruition.

If the consolidation plan is approved by the Department of Health, the hospitals' separate boards of trustees would combine into one, and all operations would be overseen by a single medical executive committee.

Commonwealth Health hopes to complete the consolidation of the two hospitals by the end of the year as long as it's approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Health system officials say they will provide updates at key points as the discussions continue.

Regional Hospital, formerly Mercy Hospital, and Moses Taylor Hospital have served the Scranton community for more than 100 years.

Commonwealth Health announced Monday that First Hospital in Kingston will close in October.

The company also operates Wilkes-Barre General Hospital and about 70 clinic locations and home-health services in the state, according to its website.

Marshall Keeley's story:

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