Academic journal article Frontiers of Health Services Management

Finding Like-Minded Partners to Span the Continuum of Care

Academic journal article Frontiers of Health Services Management

Finding Like-Minded Partners to Span the Continuum of Care

Article excerpt

INTEGRIS is Oklahoma's largest locally owned, not-for-profit health system; with approximately 9,500 employees, it is also one of the largest employers in the state. INTEGRIS operates 14 campuses, including eight acute care hospitals, nine centers of excellence for specialized care, and more than 160 primary care and specialty clinics that provide urgent care, orthopedic, transplant, and cardiac care services. As an integrated system with approximately 1,200 employed and affiliated physicians, INTEGRIS also operates rehabilitation centers, mental health facilities, fitness centers, independent living centers, and home health agencies. Collectively, INTEGRIS entities maintain approximately 1,500 licensed beds.

Collaboration as a Core Competency

Since the system's beginning, INTEGRIS's leadership has championed a spirit of collaboration and a best-practice approach to solving health problems. In fact, the organization codified this concept when it adopted "collaboration to create our future" as one of three core competencies in 2011 (Exhibit 1).

As the foundational provider of care and the trusted source of care for its communities, INTEGRIS must put the patient at the center of its decision making-whether partnering with local organizations outside of the medical field to provide housing and food to underserved Oklahomans, benchmarking itself against (and learning from) other leading health systems, or affiliating with likeminded competitors in its primary service area. INTEGRIS always considers implementing a strategic collaboration if it will help further its mission of improving the health of its communities, in both expected and unexpected ways and wherever care and services are needed.

Partnerships are not without risk. With healthcare's sweeping changes and new local and national realities (e.g., alternative payment models, the repeal-and-replace debate, volume versus value, the market disruption caused by ambulatory and other outpatient care providers), choosing the right partnership strategies, and letting them evolve, is essential.

For example, in 2012, a joint venture with Health Management Associates (HMA) gave HMA responsibility for the day-to-day operations of five INTEGRIS hospitals in rural Oklahoma while INTEGRIS shared governance. At the time, HMA saw value in partnering with a not-for-profit for tertiary care. But in 2014, Community Health Systems (CHS) bought HMA; because CHS's strategy did not include not-for-profit health system partners, CHS purchased INTEGRIS's remaining interest in the five facilities the following year and the joint venture was dissolved.

However, INTEGRIS still saw a need to reach underserved, rural communities beyond its primary service area for high-acuity care. So INTEGRIS formalized its collaboration strategy by establishing a not-for-profit subsidiary, INTEGRIS Hospital Affiliates (IHA). IHA creates new partnerships and pathways for enhanced care coordination in communities that may need additional services or have limited care options. Currently, seven hospitals participate in the affiliation.

Organizations bring unique histories and reasons for entering into joint ventures, collaborations, partnerships, and other types of affiliation. However, with the rise of patient liability, bad debt, chronic disease rates, and fierce competition from both established health systems and disruptive start-ups striving to provide nontraditional care to the new healthcare consumer, INTEGRIS collaborates for agility and cost-sensitivity in its pursuit of innovative service offerings.

Six Decades of INTEGRIS

INTEGRIS is headquartered in offices on the campus of its flagship facility, INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center. Its roots stretch back almost 60 years as a community hospital focused on bringing the highest-quality healthcare to Oklahomans.

1959-1990: Establishing a Mission of Serving the Poor and Sick

Baptist Memorial Hospital (as it was then known) opened its doors in 1959 after a statewide fundraising and public relations effort led by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. …

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