Hospitals retain independence amid statewide collaboration

Five hospital systems are working together to reduce operating expenses through the Granite Healthcare Network, yet each hospital remains independent, reported the New Hampshire Union Leader.

"Collectively, as five organizations, covering a large geographic area ... we'll be able to achieve that goal better than any individual hospital could," Southern New Hampshire Health System President and CEO Thomas Wilhelmsen Jr. said of shifting from the fee-for-service model.

Although the collaborative is running nine separate efforts, including managed print services, data storage and linen service, the hospitals don't have to partake in each one, the Union Leader noted.  Hospital participation is based on individual needs. For instance, only Elliot and Concord hospitals are involved in the group's Medicare Shared Savings project. But all of the hospitals will benefit from their Medicare claims data being added to the data warehouse.

In a similar move, St. Joseph's/Candler Hospital is offering Wayne Memorial Hospital its purchasing power, maintenance contracts and other related services in a new collaboration, the former announced two weeks ago.

"While Wayne Memorial maintains its independence, we are able to benefit from the efficiencies and services that a relationship with St. Joseph's/Candler can bring to us right here at home," Wayne Memorial Hospital CEO Joe Ierardi said in a statement.

In addition, community hospitals that like their independence are considering other partnership models besides mergers, such as affiliations. Under affiliation deals, each hospital has separate finances, boards, and CEO and management services, but they all fall under a parent company that appoints board members, FierceHealthcare previously reported. Affiliation can offer an option for local hospitals that want more autonomy, compared to other business models.

To learn more:
- read the Union Leader article
- here's the SJC announcement