Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

BayCare Pact with SMH at End ... in Part

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

BayCare Pact with SMH at End ... in Part

Article excerpt

HEALTH: Hospital partnership will go on, but not with management

A pioneering management contract forged a year and a half ago between Sarasota Memorial Health Care System and the Clearwater- based BayCare Health System is due to end by mutual agreement Friday, according to a municipal bond disclosure statement that the Sarasota public hospital posted this week.

The strategic partnership between the two nonprofit health providers will continue, but Sarasota Memorial will no longer pay BayCare some $1 million a year to provide management services.

"This was an ideal time to scale it back if we were going to do it," said Sarasota Memorial spokeswoman Kim Savage. "We were either going to get into it deeper or not at all, and we decided to stop short of integrating our two operating systems."

The decision, she added, will allow Sarasota Memorial to search on its own for a new chief executive to replace Gwen MacKenzie, who recently left the hospital after nine years in charge. Her departure was not a reason for dissolving the management structure, Savage said, but it coincided with the hospital board's annual strategic planning process.

"This is a discussion that had been going on for several months," Savage said. "Basically, both systems decided we could achieve our goals without the management piece."

Sarasota County's 806-bed hospital, which employs 4,000 people, entered into a formal alliance with the 3,306-bed Tampa Bay hospital chain in December 2012. Although BayCare is a nonprofit system, it is privately held. The Sarasota Memorial board hoped to benefit from BayCare's clout in negotiating with insurers, but was not "able to use size and scale in that regard because of our separate contracts," Savage said.

The management agreement, intended to run for five years, involved making Sarasota Memorial's three top officials employees of BayCare, but answerable to the board in Sarasota. …

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