Why are so many hospitals and physicians looking for new relationships with other hospitals or caregivers?
Hospitals and physicians are responding to an industry full of changes, such as health reform, expensive technology requirements, dwindling federal and state reimbursements, a weak economy and the increasing pressure to do more with less. Hospital collaboration and partnerships allow hospitals and providers to work together to gain greater efficiencies, share best practices and increase patient access to quality care. In fact, more than 200 hospital merger, partnership or acquisition transactions have occurred in the past two years. And, more are happening this year.
We believe physicians are the cornerstone of providing excellent healthcare, and we partner with them in a number of ways.
While we honor the Ochsner group practice model that has been so successful for us, we work with our healthcare colleagues in flexible partnerships – including open medical staffs – that reflect their communities and their work styles. It’s all in the service of delivering extraordinary patient care and preparing for healthcare reform.
With the dynamic changes in the industry, the group practice, employed model offers another solution for physicians looking for stability and a partner in facing an uncertain landscape. For independent physicians, our partner hospitals allow for open medical staffs, and more than 1,400 independent community physicians are now credentialed at our facilities across Southeast Louisiana.
Every hospital is different, so no two relationships are exactly the same, but there are several themes that run across all of our hospital partnerships:
- Proven track record: Ochsner has a proven track record of successfully partnering with local hospitals. In the last ten years, we have completed seven hospital partnerships in the area, sharing knowledge and expertise to improve the quality of care at a more affordable cost.
- Investment: Since 2007, Ochsner has invested $330 million in local hospital partnerships, nearly $100 million of this has gone toward much-needed capital investments.
- Improvements: At our partner hospitals, quality and financial strength has improved and mortality rates have declined.
- Staff retention: We have not laid off any staff members at any of our partner hospitals. Our goal is to expand services and jobs, not retract them.
All of these results are possible due to our integrated network of hospitals, and employed and community physicians, all of whom are connected and aligned for the benefit of our patients.
We recognize that every community hospital values its own culture and traditions, so we look to physicians, employees and leaders to help us set the direction of their hospital. We have a responsibility to be a good employer and a good healthcare provider. And, we do not take our not-for-profit status lightly. We are committed to serving our most vulnerable neighbors and investing in the communities we serve.
Ochsner Health System has provided the residents of Southeast Louisiana superior healthcare for more 70 years. We are proud of our not-for-profit mission and work every day to ensure we can meet the healthcare needs of the region for years to come.
Today, Ochsner is not only a significant healthcare partner across the state, but we also contribute to the economic health and well-being of the communities we serve. Ochsner is Louisiana’s largest private employer, and in 2012, Ochsner employed more than 14,000 people across our system. In 2011, we had had a $1.4 billion economic impact on Jefferson Parish alone. We are also involved with our local schools and other businesses through a number of programs that allow us to advance healthy lifestyles for local families.
We’ve learned that if we engage with our new colleagues early and often, and answer questions and respond to issues as quickly as possible, we eliminate some uncertainty. We’ve managed through the integration challenges for eight hospitals in the past 10 years. Integrating new hospitals is complicated. No one is better than our team to get it done in a collaborative manner and with few hiccups.
For example, we have discovered that one of the most important things we can do is form physician advisory groups at new partner-hospitals. These groups are invaluable because they enable us to respond to issues and challenges, understand the medical staff’s expectations and find out how we can partner with them in the care of their patients.
Delivering high-quality healthcare has never been more expensive, more challenging or more uncertain. Because of Ochsner’s integrated model, advanced electronic health record and resources, we have prepared our facilities and our physician partners to thrive in this era of healthcare reform.