Officials at Excela Health and Butler Health System have finalized the joining of the two organizations, creating a new health system serving western Pennsylvania. The Definitive Agreement and other legal documentation had been submitted to the state and federal government for review. The transaction was made official on January 1.

“This was the crucial final step in bringing the two organizations together” said Ken DeFurio, former President and CEO of BHS, and now President and CEO of the new system. “Over the past year, both Boards invested an immense amount of work, time and energy to determine if this merger made sense. We now look forward to implementing the opportunities that we’ve identified and discovering new ones.”

Commenting further, John Sphon, former CEO of Excela, and who will be retiring in March, said, “This is a watershed moment in the history of our respective organizations. It marks a turning point that will change the landscape of healthcare in our region for the betterment of both Excela and Butler and, most importantly, the patients we will serve together.”

Sphon will stay on with the new organization in an advisory capacity for several months, and then remain as a trustee of the new organization. Both Sphon and DeFurio emphasized that while the transaction has now closed, much work remains ahead in creating a truly integrated and coordinated new system. 

“It is important to underscore that a merger process of this magnitude is very complex and requires an approach that is highly thoughtful and diligent,” noted DeFurio. “We can now continue our focus on integrated governance, executive structure and other elements that are key to effective and efficient delivery of care.”

The new system will employ approximately 7,300 people, have over 1,000 physicians and practitioners and serve a population of 750,000.

Sphon and DeFurio emphasized that they will soon conduct a news conference to detail the new system. “It is our intent to provide additional information regarding the new system – including its new name- sometime in the next few weeks,” they said.

K&L Gates LLP represented Butler Health System in the transaction. Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC represented Excela Health. DeFurio and Sphon thanked both firms for their guidance and advice throughout the process.