Cabell Huntington, St. Mary’s in talks about affiliation

Two of the state’s largest medical facilities may become partners, a spokesman for one of the hospitals said Monday.

Officials from Cabell Huntington Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center, both located in Huntington, are in talks about an affiliation, said Cabell Huntington spokesman Charles Shumaker.

“We can confirm that Cabell Huntington Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center have had, and are continuing, discussions toward an affiliation,” Shumaker said in an email to the Gazette. “We expect to provide more details in the near future.”

Tony Gregory, vice president of legislative affairs for the West Virginia Hospital Association, said while he doesn’t know what type of partnership the hospitals are in talks about, there is a difference between a merger and an affiliation.

“Affiliation models can take a variety of forms, from less formal arrangements to more official agreements reflecting various levels of financial and clinical integration,” Gregory said.

Gregory said a partnership between the hospitals would be good for the Huntington community.

“Hospitals are responding to the call for better coordinated high-quality care... They’re collaborating with others ultimately to benefit the patients and communities they serve,” Gregory said. “This appears to be an example of that effort.”

St. Mary’s and Cabell Huntington ranked eighth and 12th, respectively, on a 2013 Workforce West Virginia list of the largest private employers in the state, Gregory said.

St. Mary’s is the third-largest hospital in West Virginia; Cabell Huntington is the fifth-largest, when ranked by the number of employees each hospital system has, Gregory said.

St. Mary’s has more than 2,600 employees and 393 beds, according to its website. It’s also the largest private employer in Cabell County. Cabell Huntington Hospital has about 303 beds and employs about 2,300 people.

A spokeswoman for St. Mary’s said hospital officials would not comment on the discussions beyond the statement from Cabell Huntington.

Reach Lori Kersey at, 304-348-1240 or follow @LoriKerseyWV on Twitter.

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