Voluntary Hospitals of America won another victory last week when HealthSpan Health Systems Corp., Minneapolis, said it will continue as a shareholder in the Irving, Texas-based alliance.
Whether the system would continue its membership had been uncertain since LifeSpan merged with Health One in March 1993. Health One had been a member of American Healthcare Systems, a San Diego-based alliance of not-for-profit hospitals.
Figures on revenues or supply purchases related to HealthSpan's participation in VHA weren't available.
The decision was delayed for a year because HealthSpan executives were sidelined by merger negotiations with Medica, Minnesota's second-largest health maintenance organization. That merger will create a $2 billion corporation called Allina Health System (Dec. 13, 1993, p. 3). The merger is expected to go into effect this summer.
"The existence of the VHA regional alliance, with whom our new organization Allina Health System will want to collaborate in the development of new managed-care products for their community, was a significant factor," said Gordon Sprenger, HealthSpan's executive officer.
VHA's ties with Mr. Sprenger and LifeSpan, the nation's 29th-largest hospital system, are strong ones. Mr. Sprenger was VHA's chairman from 1989 to 1993.
This is the second major victory for VHA, which is facing uncertainty as hospital systems merge and decide with which alliance they will affiliate. Latelast year, Barnes-Jewish/Christian Health Services, St. Louis, cut ties with American Health Systems and Premier Health Alliance, Westchester, Ill., to stay with VHA. Barnes Hospital, one of the systems in that three-way merger, had been a VHA shareholder.
VHA has 984 healthcare organizations that represent 17% of the nation's hospitals.