Previously, I have blogged about the proposed alliance that WMHS, Frederick Health System and Meritus Health are pursuing. Currently, the respective boards of each system are reviewing the many document, with the intention for a decision on whether to move forward or not by the end of September. This alliance would not be a full asset merger, but one that shares services, better addresses population health through the creation of an Accountable Care Organization and further develops each health system as a highly reliable organization from a quality and safety perspective.
The three CEO's have been trying to best position each health system for the preservation of health care in each of our communities while there are so many changes going on around us. The experts continue to tell us that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is transforming the economics of health care and forcing hospitals and health systems to pursue some type of alliance or affiliation. Quite frankly, we have little choice. Small to medium-sized facilities will eventually go away or will be merged / acquired into larger systems. We are trying to create a super regional system for western Maryland that will eventually reduce cost in a variety of areas, improve the delivery of care to our patients and better position each of us for population health under health care reform and the ACA.
According to Gary Ahlquist, a senior partner with Booz and Company, "there isn't an independent hospital out there that is not thinking about this and at the top of the list is the question who do I merge with?" The same experts keep telling us that any hospital trying to hold onto its independence will find it increasingly more difficult to compete against bigger, leaner organizations. WMHS, Frederick and Meritus are three of the remaining 15 independent hospitals left in Maryland. Looks like super sizing will be the way to meet the challenges of health care change while preserving care and jobs in each community.
Note: I will be taking a few days off from blogging. I will be back sometime next week. Have a great weekend.