by Max Brantley
THIS JUST IN FROM UAMS, AN EMAIL GOING TO STAFF:
Dear UAMS Family,
We are preparing to make a public announcement that I wanted to first share with you. UAMS and St. Vincent Health System have reached the end of the exploration of a strategic alliance between our two institutions. Despite the good faith efforts of everyone involved, neither entity has been able to define a pathway that meets the goals of both institutions.
Therefore, I and other members of the UAMS leadership team, are recommending to the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees that UAMS end negotiations on a strategic alliance with St. Vincent Health System. We began discussions with St. Vincent leaders several months ago in an effort to determine if there was a way to advance our shared vision and purpose of improving the health and health care of the people of the state of Arkansas through a strategic alliance. While we are ending these discussions, we will keep the door open for other ways in which we might work together in the future.
Dan Rahn, M.D.
What follows was posted earlier in the day, before this development was known:
Joann Coleman of Little Rock, who's been closely following the talks between UAMS and St. Vincent Health to combine parts of their opertions, has passed along the latest response from UAMS to one of her Freedom of Information Act requests.
It includes an outline dating back to June from UAMS on its ideas for combination. Then, from July 16, is a skeletal outline from St. Vincent.
St. Vincent's recent three-page proposal is the most interesting. It says the institutions need to "face the market" as "one" to make the best use of integration. But it emphasizes also the need for each institution to retain its key characteristic — Catholic and nonprofit in St. Vincent's case. The proposal talks of shared leadership and governance, though envisions St. Vincent providing "all corporate services." St. Vincent envisions completing an agreement by the end of this year.
More here in a University of Arkansas System FOI response, including the outline of a tenative proposal and a contract with Hogan and Lovells, a Washington law firm advising UAMS, for $1.2 million.
I'd add that I was a bit surprised by a recent new proposal from St. Vincent. The removal of a discussion of the topic from a UA Board meeting this week didn't seem to bode well for the future of getting this deal done.