Academic journal article Journal of Healthcare Management

PRACTITIONER APPLICATION: Health System Creation and Integration at a Health Sciences University: A Five-Year Follow-Up

Academic journal article Journal of Healthcare Management

PRACTITIONER APPLICATION: Health System Creation and Integration at a Health Sciences University: A Five-Year Follow-Up

Article excerpt

Slade et al. effectively highlight how management of academic health centers (AHCs) has evolved over the past decade. The necessity for cost savings through operational integration and information sharing is driving the healthcare industry from stand-alone hospitals to integrated-systems models. This movement has led many AHCs to consider partnerships and integration to deliver on their teaching, research, and patient care missions. Integrated systems can also provide benefits to community organizations through expanded access to health providers, innovative research, and improved care platforms.

My experience with KentuckyOne Health and our previous partnership with the University of Louisville demonstrated that every potential collaboration promises unique opportunities and challenges. Developing a realistic understanding of those opportunities and challenges and addressing them up front are critical to achieve value and success.

In 2013, KentuckyOne Health entered into a joint operating agreement (JOA) with the University of Louisville to manage the University of Louisville Hospital (ULH) and the James Graham Brown Cancer Center (JGBCC). KentuckyOne Health assumed the management of ULH and JGBCC, streamlining operations and service lines to serve Louisville and extend reach across the state.

The partnership faced challenges even before it was in place. In 2011, the entities sought a full merger as part of the creation of KentuckyOne Health. This was unsuccessful, in part because of concern around Catholic ethical and religious directives. (As AHCs consider collaboration with health systems, the mission and vision of both organizations, along with community sentiment, must be prime considerations.) The two organizations subsequently overcame community concern with a JOA, a modified partnership agreement that allowed selected key service lines to operate outside of the JOA. …

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