The cat's out of the bag. The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and St. Vincent Health System just issued a press release confirming what the Arkansas blog reported yesterday: That the hospitals are "exploring" an affiliation. The release says more information is coming tomorrow.
UAMS and St. Vincent Health System
On Potential Affiliation
Like many health care systems across the country, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and St. Vincent Health System are exploring ways to strengthen their organizations to better serve the residents of central Arkansas and the State.
With federal and state health care reforms moving forward, we believe there are tremendous opportunities to collaboratively improve the quality of care, reduce the cost of care, and expand access to care while preserving the history and heritage of our health systems.
As a result, UAMS and St. Vincent are currently in preliminary discussions about ways that we might work together to improve health care delivery in the state. Any affiliation that is pursued will preserve UAMS’ public identity and St. Vincent’s Catholic identity including women’s and reproductive health care services.
The parties are expected to officially share additional details tomorrow.
So how can the state's public hospital and a religious hospital affiliate? It didn't work out in Kentucky.
Chancellor Daniel Rahn has also sent a letter to the "UAMS Family" saying much the same thing, though he adds that UAMS is not considering selling or leasing any of its facilities and the hospitals will "work together in an integrated fashion in selected areas." Letter on the jump.
Dear UAMS Family,
UAMS and St. Vincent Health System have begun preliminary discussions on a potential affiliation in which we would work together in an integrated fashion in selected areas to better serve Arkansas’ health care needs.
UAMS is not considering selling or leasing any of its facilities nor will an affiliation with St. Vincent affect the delivery of women’s health or reproductive services at UAMS.
As the state’s only academic health sciences center, UAMS’ mission is to lead the way in improving the health and health care of all Arkansans through education, research and clinical care. An aging population, a shortage of health care workers, inaccessibility to care in rural areas and the uncertain impact of health reform are just a few of the challenges facing the health care system of the future. If we are to meet those challenges, we must continue to develop and expand strategic collaborations with other health care organizations across the state to bring our strengths together to improve outcomes and efficiency in our services.
At this point, we are simply exploring our options and do not know what a possible affiliation with St. Vincent might include. Health system reform is underway throughout the country and many hospitals and physician groups are seeking affiliations in an effort to bring lower cost and higher quality to more people. We have a fiduciary responsibility to the citizens of Arkansas to seek ways we can collaborate for the greater good. Our research and academic programs are an essential part of our overarching mission and we must look for innovative solutions to sustain them while providing excellent care to our patients and families.
We plan to release more information about our discussions with St. Vincent Health tomorrow. I will keep you informed as additional details become available.
Dan Rahn, M.D.