D.C. hospital approves acquisition by Johns Hopkins

The board of trustees of a Washington hospital has approved plans to integrate the institution with Johns Hopkins Medicine, a Hopkins spokesman said today.

Johns Hopkins has been pursuing an acquisition of 328-bed Sibley Memorial Hospital — a deal that would give the Baltimore-based institution its first hospital in Washington. The deal — approved by Sibley’s board Wednesday night — still requires regulatory approval, said spokesman John Lazarou.

The Johns Hopkins medical system has been steadily expanding its reach. It operates Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in East Baltimore, as well as Howard County General Hospital.

The system struck merger deals with Suburban Hospital in Bethesda last year and All Children’s Hospital & Health System in Tampa, Fla. in July.

Johns Hopkins executives said at the time of the Tampa deal that the All Children's acquisition did not signal an aggressive or out-of-state expansion strategy. Rather, they said, they were approached by executives from All Children's three years ago.

The recession has driven some mergers, as hospitals struggled financially and banded together to weather the downturn. More than 50 hospital mergers happened in 2009, according to Irving Levin Associates, and more than two dozen have been announced this year.

Both the Federal Trade Commission and Washington’s State Health Planning and Development Agency need to approve the Johns Hopkins-Sibley deal, said Sibley spokeswoman Sheilah Roy. Those decisions are expected within several days, she said.

If approved, Sibley would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Hopkins Medicine. No money will be exchanged as part of the deal, she said.

The Washington hospital would retain its name and staff would remain the same, Roy said, although Hopkins plans to hire more primary-care physicians.

“We will be able to take advantage of some of the resources that Hopkins can bring to the table,” she said, including clinical trials.

Johns Hopkins is also a center for geriatric research, which complements the direct care to seniors offered at Sibley’s assisted living centers and Alzheimer’s unit, the spokeswoman said.

“We have a lot of experience caring for geriatric patients,” she said. “To combine the two is something that is appealing.”

Sibley is set to open a new medical office building as well as a new all-private room hospital on its campus, Roy said.

liz.kay@baltsun.com

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