3 success stories for non-merger hospital collaboration

Consolidation and collaboration increasingly drive the healthcare business, but in many cases, a desire to retain autonomy leads health leaders to collaborate without merging. Hospitals seeking such non-merger collaborative efforts can look to several successful examples, according to Hospitals & Health Networks.

For example, in Maryland, leaders at three systems, Western Maryland Health System, Meritus Health and Frederick Memorial Hospital, put their heads together in 2012 after the state shifted to a payment system with hospital revenue caps. While Maryland’s hospital market is largely bigger systems, all three providers were the only ones in their respective counties. In 2014, they formed Trivergent Health Alliance MSO, a management services organization that brings in combined revenues of about $1.2 billion a year.

The three systems each contributed staff to develop six work teams to tackle functions such as human resources, revenue cycle and information technology. The teams identified a full $40 million in savings opportunities over three years.

In Missouri and Southern Illinois, an agreement between BJC HealthCare, CoxHealth, Memorial Health System and St. Luke’s Health System created the limited liability corporation BJC Collaborative. BJC has no staff of its own, and is handled by leaders from each organization. “When you have the senior-most executives held accountable for this work effort, it is front and center of all of our organizations,” BJC HealthCare Group President Sandra Van Trease told H&HN. “When you have that level of commitment and that level of expertise, you get results, and then the results help to feed and foster more opportunity assessments to go forward.”

In New Hampshire, five independent systems (Catholic Medical Center, Concord Hospital, LRGHealthcare, Southern New Hampshire Health System and Wentworth-Douglass Health System) joined in 2011 with an eye on population health management, and today operate a statewide health plan with a health payer. The systems have the advantage of a total operating revenue of around $1.5 billion.

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