Developing the UAMS/St. Vincent merger | Arkansas Blog

Developing the UAMS/St. Vincent merger

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DONT CALL IT A MERGER: UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn.
  • DON'T CALL IT A MERGER: UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn.
Work continues at UAMS on the proposal from Chancellor Dan Rahn to essentially merge hospital/clinical operations with the private St. Vincent Infirmary health system.

On the jump find a recent memo from Rahn about appointees to UAMS committees to study the issue.

Some advocates of the plan, including Rahn, object to use of the term "merger," though the word is employed in the founding document for a $1 million consultants' study on the issue. It also is functionally apt. Peter Banko, CEO at St. Vincent, talked at a health conference sponsored by Arkansas Business this week of his vision that there will, in time, be two networks of health providers in Arkansas. It's easy to conclude that vision would be UAMS/St. Vincent and Baptist. You can see where those left as roadkill in such an evolution might have some anti-trust concerns. (PS — The assumption is that Arkansas Children's Hospital continues to function as more or less the pediatric department of UAMS. Indeed, its nonprofit model is a template for the partnership with St. Vincent, though it's not really parallel as a purpose-built local hospital versus a part of a national health operation looking to maixmize net revenue.)

If these two institutions combine/merge/cooperate/whatever, jobs will be lost (we know this from experience in other states, Louisiana for example). Also, jobs that once operated clearly as parts of individual institutions will be part of a unified network with two masters. Which employees will have preference in hanging onto their jobs? Whose pay scales will have preference? What policies on insurance coverage of birth control pills will control employees of the blended system — UAMS' or St. Vincent's? Will abortion be no longer taught, practiced or spoken of at the blended institution? Tubal ligations? Family planning? Morning-after pills for rape victims? Will St. Vincent agree to obey sexual non-discrimination policies of the UA or insist that its church roots preclude it being bound to non-discrimination against gay people? Will St. Vincent be able to punish those with whom it disagrees on account of their speech, routine for private business but a ticklish proposition for a government-funded agency? Will the Freedom of Information Act be honored? Will the blended institution expand outsourcing and seek to do no business with employee unions? Will a two-class organization ensue — doctors and everyone else? People inside are asking these questions, the public should, too, particularly the baseline question of taxpayer investment in one private institution's profits over another.

Yes, there's much to study.

MEMO FROM UAMS CHANCELLOR DAN RAHN

Clinical Network Development

The purpose of this initiative is to explore the affiliations required to develop and successfully operate a statewide network. A clinically integrated network is required to meet the goals and challenges posed by health care reform and assure UAMS’ future.

Potential UAMS/SVI Affiliation

UAMS and SVI are exploring a potential affiliation to advance their missions while still remembering the public purpose of UAMS and the private, faith-based, not-for-profit purpose of SVI. Any collaboration, for example, will not affect the delivery of women's or reproductive services at UAMS. Affiliation does not mean merger. UAMS’ goal in exploring this initiative is to advance our purpose to improve the health of the population of Arkansas through excellence in patient care, the education and training of health professionals to meet the broad health care needs of the citizens of Arkansas, discover new knowledge relevant to human health and disease through research and translate advances in all areas to improvements in our approaches to health and disease. It is our hope that, through affiliation, we will be able to leverage the strengths of both organizations, achieve excellent patient care quality and efficiency and, simultaneously advance our inter-dependent goals in patient care, education and research.

Charge to Advisory Committees

To ensure that we are focusing on the advancement of UAMS’ purpose as a public health sciences university and academic medical center, an advisory committee structure will be utilized by our institution throughout this exploration. Each advisory committee will be chaired by a senior UAMS or UA System official. The advisory committees will report to an overall initiative steering committee chaired by Chancellor Dan Rahn. Each committee is charged to examine the risks and benefits of affiliation related to their areas of responsibility and make recommendations for issues to be considered. These recommendations will be considered by the steering committee and incorporated into final recommendations to the UA System President and Board of Trustees.


Clinically Integrated Network Advisory Team Structure

Executive Steering Committee

o Chair — Dan Rahn, UAMS Chancellor
o Debra Fiser, Dean College of Medicine
o Dick Pierson, Executive Director and Vice Chancellor for Clinical

Programs
o Melissa Fontaine, Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical Programs o Dan Riley, Chief Financial Officer Medical Center
o Melony Goodhand, Vice Chancellor for Finance UAMS, CFO
o Jeanne Heard, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
o Larry Cornett, Executive Associate Dean and Vice Chancellor for

Research
o Fred Harrison, UA System General Counsel
o G. Richard Smith, Director Psychiatric Research Institute o Mark Mengel, Vice Chancellor for Regional Programs

Governance

o Dan Rahn, UAMS Chancellor
o Don Bobbitt, President UA System
o John Goodson, BOT Member and Chair Hospital Committee

Clinical

o Co-Chair — Debra Fiser, Dean COM and Vice Chancellor UAMS

o Co-Chair — Dick Pierson, Vice Chancellor for Clinical Programs Finance and Operations

o Chair — Melony Goodhand, Vice Chancellor for Finance, CFO Education

o Chair — Jeanne Heard, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Research

o Chair — Larry Cornett, Vice Chancellor for Research Communications

o Chair — Leslie Taylor, Associate Vice Chancellor for Communications and Marketing

Legal and Regulatory

o Chair — Fred Harrison, UA System General Counsel To be determined

Potential Network Partners Community Advisory Leadership

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