St. Joseph Health System in Orange, Calif., has joined the wave of regional healthcare network formation.
The system recently has moved to acquire a hospital, form partnerships with independent physicians and seek other health systems for possible affiliations.
Thomas J. Porath, St. Joseph's vice president of corporate services, said St. Joseph is focusing on developing a network in Orange County composed of its two existing hospitals, 268-bed St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, Calif., and its flagship, 393-bed St. Joseph Hospital in Orange.
A pending acquisition by St. Joseph of 175-bed Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo, Calif., also will help expand the network's coverage area into southern Orange County, Mr. Porath said. Terms of the acquisition weren't disclosed.
The addition of Mission Hospital, which is about 15 miles from the St. Joseph campus, to the network would bring the three hospitals together to pursue managed-care contracts. The deal is expected to be completed later this year.
Currently, the system has no major managed-care products or affiliations.
Once established, the three-hospital network would be positioned to align itself with physicians and larger managed-care networks that are offering expanded services throughout California and possibly the Southwest, where it operates 406-bed St. Mary of the Plains Hospital in Lubbock, Texas.
In organizing the network, St. Joseph is working with some 2,200 physicians with admitting privileges at the three hospitals to establish more formal ties, either through a foundation, management services agreement or some type of "partially integrated arrangement."
One health system studying a possible alliance with St. Joseph is San Francisco-based Catholic Healthcare West.
Although St. Joseph is exploring ways in which it could collaborate with CHW in some form of alliance, Mr. Prath said that, "In the near term, it would be premature to say a consolidation is under consideration."
He noted that various Roman Catholic healthcare systems have been discussing collaborative efforts if there's a need to offer a statewide delivery network to attract business from large buying groups.