By Lena H. Sun
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 28, 2010; A21
The development, reported Wednesday on The Washington Post's Web site, will give the $4.5 billion Hopkins system a greater presence in the region, with a foothold in a part of affluent Washington where patients have insurance.
Officials of both systems say it is anticipated that Sibley will join Johns Hopkins Health in early fall. Sibley spokeswoman Sheliah Roy said the nonprofit, 328-bed hospital is not being sold and will stay open. "There's no money changing hands," she said.
Patients, she said, probably will have easier access to Hopkins personnel. Hopkins last year acquired Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, converting it into a Hopkins subsidiary.
If the transaction is completed as planned, Sibley will operate under the Hopkins structure in the same way as Suburban and other Hopkins affiliates, officials said. Sibley would keep its voluntary medical staff and physician organization. Its leadership structure and day-to-day operations are not expected to change.
Sibley's board of trustees voted Wednesday for the hospital to enter talks to join Hopkins, as did the Hopkins board earlier this month, according to officials.
Roy said Sibley's vote "is a significant decision." Hospital industry sources said Sibley had also been in talks for several weeks with Columbia-based Medstar Health, which owns Washington Hospital Center, the largest hospital in the District, and Georgetown University Hospital.
In a statement Thursday, Edward Miller, dean and chief executive of Johns Hopkins Medicine, said: "Sibley will be a key force in the development of an integrated system of care for the national capital region, focused on improving health by providing access to state-of-the-art clinical medicine that's supported by a strong base of research and medical education."
Sibley's president and chief executive, Robert Sloan, said in a statement that the alliance would be a major step in advancing health-care delivery in the region.
Sibley spokeswoman Roy noted that Sibley was one of the few remaining free-standing hospitals in the Washington area. The national health-care overhaul means "there's a lot of changes going on," and with reduced Medicare payments to physicians in the future, she said, teaming with Hopkins positions Sibley to be a "more relevant health-care provider" for the future.
In recent weeks, industry sources have said patient volume at Sibley has dropped. The hospital also does not have stroke accreditation, though Roy said Sibley is in the process of obtaining it. A lack of such accreditation means fewer patients can be brought to the emergency room for treatment for possible strokes.
Hopkins has one of the nation's leading medical schools, an extensive research faculty and a sprawling hospital system that includes Howard County General Hospital in Columbia.