Health Care Alliances
Health care alliances are formed by two or more health care systems choosing to partner, with a goal of developing strategies that will enable them to more efficiently and more effectively provide patient-centered care throughout their respective service areas.
A key change brought about by the Affordable Care Act is a shift from the traditional fee-for-service reimbursement model to one that is based on improving outcomes for patients. With this change in place, hospitals are engaging in new efforts to reduce expenses. One such effort is the establishment of hospital alliances.
A health care alliance is an agreement entered into by health care organizations seeking to leverage shared resources, expertise and experience to fortify the viability of the individual health systems in their respective communities. By working collaboratively, sharing best practices, improving quality and reducing costs through economies of scale, the alliance members can jointly tackle the challenges each must face. Alliances differ from mergers in that the member organizations remain independent and autonomous, outside of voluntary collaborative projects.
Relevance to Floyd Medical Center
Floyd Medical Center has entered into a strategic alliance with four medical service providers in west Georgia to focus on ways to more efficiently and more effectively provide patient-centered services throughout their collective service area that covers 19 contiguous counties throughout the west Georgia region.
The other three member organizations are:
Tanner Health System, a 318-bed, four-hospital, nonprofit regional health care provider based in Carrollton. Tanner has more than 300 physicians who serve west Georgia and east Alabama. Their facilities include Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton, Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica, Higgins General Hospital in Bremen and the inpatient behavioral health facility, Willowbrooke at Tanner in Villa Rica. Tanner also operates Tanner Medical Group, one of metropolitan Atlanta’s multi-specialty physician groups.
West Georgia Health, includes West Georgia Medical Center, a 276-bed full service hospital located in LaGrange, with more than 100 physicians. West Georgia Health provides health care services to communities in west Georgia and east Alabama. The health system also includes the Florence Hand Home and the Twin Fountains Home, both skilled-nursing facilities with more than 250 beds combined. The health system also is home to the Enoch Callaway Cancer Clinic, West Georgia Heart Clinic, West Georgia Home Care and West Georgia Hospice. West Georgia Health also operates West Georgia Physicians, a multi-specialty physician group.
Hamilton Health Care System, located in Dalton, includes Hamilton Medical Center, a 282-bed regional referral hospital that is affiliated with more than 200 physicians. Hamilton Medical Center operates the Bradley Wellness Center, Hamilton Specialty Care, Hamilton Home Health and Hamilton Hospice. Hamilton Emergency Medical Services, operating through a contract with Whitfield County, manages emergency rescue services for the county and is designated by the state of Georgia as an advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) service.
The purpose of the alliance, known as the Tanner, West Georgia, Floyd, Hamilton Collaboration, LLC, is to draw on the resources, expertise and experience of its members to deliver innovative and responsive patient care with a commitment to quality and efficiency. The member organizations collaborate on best practices to improve their processes and operations while reducing or minimizing the rising costs of health care delivery with the goal of strengthening each of the individual health systems as they work together.
The alliance is managed by a board of directors, with each member’s CEO serving as a board member, unless another designee is otherwise appointed and approved by the collaboration’s board. There are no plans for the member organizations to merge. The purpose of this alliance is to improve quality and efficiency while respecting the independence of each individual member organization.
While the member organizations equally share expenses for the establishment and general operations of this collaboration, project-related expenses are handled differently. The collaboration’s board of directors will decide and prioritize projects to be implemented by the collaboration. Each member organization can choose whether to participate in proposed initiatives, and expenses are divided only among the participants.