Back in 2011, as the University of Missouri Health System (MU) was considering population health management initiatives, executives recognized the need to collaborate with surrounding hospitals, given that more than half of the academic medical center’s inpatient admissions were coming from outside the county in which it is located. MU, therefore, invited leaders from four surrounding community hospitals – Bothwell Regional Health Center (Sedalia, MO), Capital Region Medical Center (Jefferson City, MO), Hannibal Regional Healthcare System (Hannibal, MO), and Lake Regional Health System (Osage City, MO) – into a discussion regarding joint efforts to improve healthcare in Central Missouri.
For the next two years, members of the Learning Collaborative, as it was called, met on a quarterly basis to discuss healthcare payment and delivery reform and related opportunities. Over time, however, frustration set in, as it seemed impossible for this information-sharing organization to convert conversations into concrete plans of action.
Leaders of the five hospitals decided earlier this year to pursue a more formal relationship through a legal entity co-owned equally by the hospitals. They envisioned this entity would provide a trust environment through which the hospitals could protect their independence through interdependence.
Following several months of careful planning, the hospitals announced on June 25, the formation of the Health Network of Missouri. The five founding members combined have more than 1,000 hospital beds, more than 9,300 employees, and approximately 1,000 employed and affiliated physicians. They serve patients in adjacent counties throughout Central and Northeast Missouri.
The Health Network of Missouri is structured to allow these providers to work together as a clinically integrated network while enabling them to serve the healthcare needs of their own communities and preserve their independence and unique identities. Each hospital will have equal representation in governance of the network.
Initially, the Health Network of Missouri will focus on developing three compacts defining how all members will work together on care coordination, population health management strategies, and employer and payer initiatives. Committees comprised of representatives from all five hospitals already are hard at work on these compacts.
Also, members will explore potential contractual arrangements between two or more members to address more specific needs, such as telehealth, clinical research, and joint purchasing. Over time, the Health Network of Missouri expects to expand its membership as well as its scope of operations to meet the needs of the communities it serves.
PYA is proud to have assisted the members of the newly formed Health Network of Missouri in designing and implementing the organizational structure and developing the network’s initial operational plan. We look forward to working with the network in the near term to put this plan in motion.
In the near future, PYA will publish a detailed case study on the development and implementation of this innovative model for hospital affiliation to address regional needs. We will focus on overcoming obstacles in creating a trust environment in which independent providers committed to a common cause can leverage resources to improve patient experience of care and clinical outcomes and enhance efficiency.
For more information about PYA’s approach to affiliation strategies, contact the expert listed below at PYA, (800) 270-9629.