Healthcare Business News

Piedmont, WellStar partner to cut costs

By Maureen McKinney
Posted: November 12, 2012 - 12:15 pm ET

In the latest instance of nonownership deals among hospitals, four-hospital Piedmont Healthcare, Atlanta, and five-hospital WellStar Health System, Marietta, Ga., announced plans to form a collaborative designed to help both health systems save money, explore new payment models and drive innovation.

Piedmont and WellStar, both not-for-profit systems, will remain independent under the terms of the agreement, known as the Georgia Health Collaborative. The collaborative will include more than 700 physicians in the Piedmont Physicians Group, the Piedmont Heart Institute and the WellStar Medical Group, according to a jointly issued news release.

"We believe that the future of healthcare in America is through organizations working together and partnering and not through owning and controlling," WellStar President and CEO Reynold Jennings said in the release.

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Frank Lordeman, who in 2011 helped establish a similar collaborative in Cleveland involving EMH Elyria Medical Center, Parma Community General Hospital and South West General Health Center, has been named executive director of the Georgia Health Collaborative. The organization's soon-to-be-formed board of directors will include current board chairmen, CEOs, COOs and two additional representatives from each system, according to the release.

"A collaborative allows us to create both scale and efficiency without the same debt and integration challenges that come with expansion or acquisition," Gregory Hurst, Piedmont's president and interim chief operating office, said in the release. "Our systems seem perfect for this type of partnership."

Last month, BJC Healthcare, St. Louis; CoxHealth, Springfield, Mo.; St. Luke's Health System, Kansas City, Mo.; and Memorial Health System, Springfield, Ill., formed BJC Collaborative, an alliance of 28 hospitals.

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