Texas joint venture increases ACO's reach, patient access

A partnership deal among five northTexas hospitals aims to increase patient care access and improve coordinated care in the region.

Baylor Scott & White Health and Tenet Healthcare Corp. have closed the deal joining five Dallas County hospitals, according to Dallas/Fort Worth Healthcare Daily.

The deal involves four Tenet-owned hospitals as well as Baylor Medical Center in Garland, according to the publication. The four Tenet-owned facilities will serve the 43,000 patients covered under the Baylor Scott & White Quality Alliance, Baylor's accountable care organization, and are located in regions that previously represented some of Baylor's largest regional gaps.

The deal, which was less expensive than an acquisition, allows Baylor to increase its patients' care access while helping Tenet reach more patients in a coordinated care model. "Non-merger merger" arrangements between providers are increasingly popular post-Affordable Care Act, especially as federal regulators increase scrutiny of traditional mergers, FierceHealthFinance previously reported.

Both organizations will retain their leadership teams and governing boards, but will create a joint governing board, with both participants equally represented for each of the facilities to enforce uniform guidelines contained in the deal, such as a requirement that Tenet adopt Baylor's community service and uncompensated care guidelines.

"We have in the Dallas market four very high-quality community hospitals that provide excellent care to the community we serve. But we realized healthcare is going through tremendous changes and we will be held accountable for how we can manage the health of a population," Brett Lee, Tenet's CEO for the Dallas region, told the publication. "With four mid-sized community hospitals, we weren't equipped to do that on our own."

The deal closed with far fewer complications than Tenet's attempt to purchase five struggling Connecticut hospitals, That deal collapsed last year after several years of preparation when the chain and Connecticut regulators failed to reach an agreement on converting the hospitals to for-profit operations.

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