Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Baptist Signs Pact with Rural Hospitals

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Baptist Signs Pact with Rural Hospitals

Article excerpt

By Nancy Raiden Titus

Journal Record Staff Reporter

The linkage of 13 rural Oklahoma hospitals with Baptist Medical Center will provide the systems-based health care of the future for residents across the state, hospital leaders said Monday.

"The future is in systems," said Stanley Hupfeld, chief executive officer of Oklahoma Healthcare Corp., parent company of the Oklahoma City hospital.

Those systems integrate all aspects of health care _ from the primary care of general practice doctors to secondary hospital service to the tertiary specialty hospital care offered at the Oklahoma City complex.

Hupfeld told about 100 people gathered for a news conference at Baptist Medical Center that a new entity to be formed in February is "beginning to put the pieces together in that regard."

Oklahoma Healthcare on Monday signed an agreement, announced earlier this month, with Baptist Healthcare of Oklahoma, which manages the 13 rural hospitals, to create a new holding company over both organizations. The new parent would be known as Baptist Health System.

Hupfeld said forming the system gives Baptist more influence in the reform of health care in Oklahoma. It puts the Baptist group in a position to develop prepaid, or capitated, delivery mechanisms which are a key feature of the health alliances called for in President Clinton's health care reform.

"We don't know exactly what the plan will include, but we know it will have capitation," said Dr. Joe L. Ingram, president of Baptist Healthcare. "We know we will be bidding for lives. This will enable us to perform the full services you have to have. We had primary and secondary care hospitals, and we needed a link with the tertiary care to make the service complete."

The relationship also will enhance the ability of rural hospitals to provide care through telemedicine, a newly developed technology which allows consultation between specialists in Oklahoma City and providers in rural areas.

"The future of medicine is the transfer of data, not the transfer of patients," Hupfeld said, referring to the power of telemedicine to enhance health care delivery.

About 35 percent of the patients Baptist Medical Center already serves are from rural areas. …

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