Excela, Butler change name to Independence Health System

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After merging to create Western Pennsylvania’s third-largest health system, Excela Health and the Butler Health System have a new name: Independence Health System.

The system includes Butler, Clarion, Frick, Latrobe and Westmoreland hospitals, with 7,300 employees and more than 1,000 physicians and advanced practice providers.

“Having the wider resources of a large medical staff and the breadth of knowledge among clinicians and staff all united inpatient care amplifies the use of best practices and evidence-based treatment in every patient encounter,” said Dr. Carol Fox, Independence’s chief medical officer.


Courtesy of Independence Health System

Excela Health and the Butler Health System announced their new merged name, Independence Health System.


Independence Health System serves a 10-county region and is now the largest employer in Butler and Westmoreland counties. The merger between the two systems became official Jan. 1.

“ ‘Independence’ represents important distinctions for the new system,” said President and CEO Ken DeFurio. “As the new name denotes, we offer a scope of services and clinical programs that is locally based, locally controlled, and available to patients without having the need for them or their families to travel long distances. Our commitment to providing the very highest level of care in our communities is unwavering.”

Independence officials said the system’s logo denotes the combination of care and culture: a medical cross surrounded by circles represents the interconnectedness of physicians, nurses and other segments of staff who provide or support care for patients.

“I have spent months getting to know the doctors, nurses and staff throughout the system. I can tell you that to a person we take great pride in what we do,” said DeFurio, who served as president and CEO of Butler Health System prior to the merger. “Independence is a name that rings true to all of us, and it is at the core of our mission and vision.”

Both health systems have faced recent financial losses. The nine-month period ending March 31, 2023, saw Butler and Excela reporting a combined loss of more than $62 million, according to disclosure reports released this spring.

A recent letter sent to employees by DeFurio states the newly combined health system will need to develop a “significant expense reduction plan” in the near future, though he did not include details about the plan.

The letter went on to say that the financial challenges both systems face “are precisely why our respective boards came to the conclusion that we are stronger as a single system.”

John Sphon, who was CEO of Excela Health, retired this year but serves in an advisory capacity and as a trustee of the new health system.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick by email at pvarine@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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