CHS subsidiary, Geisinger medical school to end teaching relationship Jan. 1

Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine will no longer use Commonwealth Health's clinical sites and physicians, according to The Times-Tribune.

The medical school, part of Danville, Pa.-based Geisinger Health System, includes Pennsylvania campuses in Scranton, Danville, Sayre and Wilkes-Barre. Commonwealth Health is five-hospital network in northeastern Pennsylvania and a subsidiary of Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems.

Geisinger Health System finalized its purchase of Scranton-based Commonwealth Medical College in January, resulting in the medical school's new name, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. Since that time, students of Geisinger's medical school have completed clinical rotations at Commonwealth Health-owned facilities, and physicians from Geisinger's medical school have taught at these clinical sites, according to the report.

But Geisinger Health System confirmed the teaching relationship is set to end next year.

"We confirm that Tennessee-based Community Health Systems has announced they will no longer offer their clinical sites and physicians in the Scranton and Wilkes-Barre … regions as learning venues and clinical faculty for the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine … effective Jan. 1, 2018," Anthony Aquilina, DO, Geisinger Northeast's regional president, said in an emailed statement to Becker's Hospital Review.

He added, "Fortunately, Geisinger's long-term strategic plan has laid the groundwork necessary to handle this situation with minimal disruption to our students. Our students will now have even further access to train at Geisinger. 

"We are confident our students will continue to receive high-quality clinical instruction at state-of-the-art venues and their transition to new sites will be made as seamless as possible."

The break-up comes as Geisinger Health System recently offered tiered insurance coverage to its employees and incentivized employees to see physicians affiliated with the system, according to the report.

"In consultation with our physician leaders, we came to the unanimous decision to terminate our teaching relationship with GCSOM based on Geisinger's exclusion of our affiliated physicians from some of their health plan products," Commonwealth Health spokesperson Renita Fennick said in an emailed statement to The Times-Tribune.

"Our hospitals and physicians have enjoyed being a part of GCSOM, volunteering time and expertise to the program and receiving no pay for helping teach the next generation of physicians."

About 60 third-year medical students, as well as some fourth-year students, are affected by the move. Geisinger said medical students will now receive training not only in Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Sayre and Danville, but at all 13 system hospitals and clinical sites, including Harrisburg and southern New Jersey.


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