WellSpan Health announced Friday it will affiliate with Ephrata Community Hospital on Oct. 1.

The two companies have finalized plans and intend to align their organizations to "address changes in health care and improve the health of individuals and communities" in the region, WellSpan said in a news release.

The two organizations have gone through more than a year of due diligence by their boards of directors and management as well as government reviews before finalizing their plans, the release said.

John M. Porter Jr. will remain as president of Ephrata Community Hospital in Lancaster County and will also become a senior vice president in the WellSpan management team.

The first integration efforts will focus on the staff and operations of select administrative functions as well as health care services delivered in physicians' offices and in home settings, the organizations said. The first changes will likely occur in the next two to three years.