DANVILLE - Geisinger Health System, Danville, and Holy Spirit Health System, Camp Hill, announced Monday the signing of a definitive agreement for Holy Spirit to become an affiliate of Geisinger Health System.

The organizations announced the signing of a letter of intent last September and subsequently completed a detailed due diligence process to explore opportunities to benefit health care in Harrisburg and the surrounding area.

The proposed integration now moves into the regulatory approval phase, which is expected to take 30 to 45 days to complete.

"This is an important step forward for Geisinger and Holy Spirit to enhance care in south central Pennsylvania," said Dr. Glenn Steele Jr., Geisinger Health System president and CEO. "Holy Spirit has a 50-year history of providing high quality, compassionate care, and we are pleased to affiliate with an organization that shares our commitment to value and doing what is right for patients and the community."

"This affiliation with Geisinger will enable us to build upon our efforts to deliver innovative and collaborative medical services to the community, as well as to maintain our mission-driven Catholic identity," said Sister Romaine Niemeyer, SCC, FACHE, Holy Spirit Health System president and CEO. "We will continue to benefit from the expertise of our local board of directors and the sponsorship of the Sisters of Christian Charity, as well as Geisinger's nationally recognized accomplishments."

Representatives from each organization will sit on the Geisinger Health System Foundation and Holy Spirit Health System boards of directors.

Other mergers

The agreement with Holy Spirit is the latest in the past four years. The G-SACH merger was announced in 2010 and completed with the creation of Geisinger-Shamokin Area Community Hospital Jan. 1, 2012. Geisinger has since joined with Bloomsburg Health System and Community Medical Center in Scranton and Lewistown Hospital and is in recent talks with AtlantiCare Health System in Atlantic City.

Also, in August, GHS announced it has entered into an agreement with The Society of the Sisters of Christian Charity of New Jersey to purchase the Holy Family Convent, a neighboring property in Danville. Geisinger plans to convert two of the residential floors in the six-story convent to general office/conference space.

The organizations share a number of awards including Health Care's Most Wired hospitals and health systems, Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers, American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet Recognition, "A" Hospital Safety Scores by The Leapfrog Group, Joint Commission Accreditation/Recognition, 100 Great Places to Work in Healthcare by Becker's Hospital Review, and Blue Centers of Distinction for cardiac care, spine surgery, knee and hip replacement.