Rumors of Ephraim-Haggin hospital merger unconfirmed

Hospital officials have neither confirmed nor denied a rumored merger of Ephraim McDowell Health and the James B. Haggin Memorial Hospital in Harrodsburg.

Earlier this month, The Advocate-Messenger published the incorporation of Ephraim McDowell Haggin Physicians LLC. The incorporation was filed in Mercer County by Tammy Meade Ensslin, general counsel for Ephraim McDowell, and the business’ address is listed as 217 S. Third St., Danville, which is Ephraim McDowell’s address.

That incorporation, along with recent authorization from Harrodsburg to sublease the old Wilderness Trace YMCA building to Ephraim McDowell, have contributed to discussion about whether the two medical entities could be merging, according to The Harrodsburg Herald, which reported on the topic this week with an A1 story headlined “Is merger imminent for Haggin?”

Jeremy Cocanougher, a spokesman for Ephraim McDowell, said the medical center did not have a comment.

“There is nothing at this time for us to comment on,” Cocanougher said. “At the appropriate time — if and when there is something — we will make an announcement.”

Cocanougher said he couldn’t comment on plans for the YMCA building in Harrodsburg. Vice President Keith Bridges wouldn’t be available until Monday to discuss that building, he said.

Bridges told The Harrodsburg Herald that Ephraim McDowell plans to open a wellness center in the building similar to the McDowell Wellness Center in Danville. Bridges also declined to comment to the Harrodsburg paper about the rumored merger, telling it “there will be an announcement when there’s an announcement.”

A person contacted at Haggin referred all questions about a possible merger to CEO Vicki Reed, but said Reed would not be available until Wednesday.

Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center is a 222-bed hospital in downtown Danville with numerous other medical facilities in the area. Haggin would not be the first area hospital absorbed by Ephraim McDowell Health, the parent company of the medical center. In 2002, it acquired what is now Ephraim McDowell Fort Logan Hospital in Stanford, after a year-long negotiation process, according to newspaper archives. The Fort Logan Hospital is open today as a 25-bed critical access hospital, according to Ephraim McDowell Health’s website.