McCready Health of Crisfield, MD, and Peninsula Regional Health System, based in Salisbury, MD, have reached a definitive agreement to merge, the organizations announced July 1. As part of the deal, officials said, McCready Health’s Chesapeake Cove Assisted Living and Tawes Nursing Home also would become part of PRHS.

The merger awaits final regulatory approval, which is expected this fall.

McCready Health approached PRHS approximately 18 months ago with a request to examine how an affiliation might be structured, officials said. During the past decade, hospital usage had dropped “dramatically,” and the hospital building itself was “aging rapidly,” they said. After approximately Nov. 1, when PRHS takes ownership, the McCready Health hospital will become a “freestanding medical facility,” with emergency care, physical therapy, speech therapy, behavioral health services, family medicine, imaging and laboratory services remaining but inpatient hospital care and surgeries moving to PRHS.

“McCready Health has proudly served the people of Crisfield and Somerset County for nearly a century, and it has been the focus of our Board and staff to assure that residents continue to receive caring, quality healthcare in their local community,” said McCready Health CEO Kathleen Harrison, MBA, FACHE(R). “McCready is also a major employer here, and we want to continue as an economic driver for the county. By becoming part of PRHS, we can assure both those objectives for many years to come.”

PRHS President and CEO Steve Leonard will have the same titles in the merged organization.