El Camino Healthcare System and Shoreline Medical Group in Mountain View, Calif., have joined with Sunnyvale (Calif.) Medical Clinic to form Camino Healthcare, an integrated delivery system with a unique twist.
A not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization will operate both the physician clinics and the system's hospital, said Gerald Peters, a partner in the healthcare group at Latham & Watkins in San Francisco and the system's legal counsel.
A physician-hospital organization, which is a more common entity, "is typically not integrated. It is a joint venture designed to obtain payer contracts, but the parties remain separate," Mr. Peters said.
"Here we've actually merged the parties," he said. With aligned economic interests, "hopefully, it will be a much more efficient organization."
All of Camino's employees, except the physicians, will be covered by the same compensation and benefits package. The group also will consolidate all its laboratories into a single system, said Richard Pettingill, Camino Healthcare's president and chief executive officer.
The culmination of four years' planning, Camino Healthcare consists of 19 sites serving portions of three counties. It includes about 550 physicians, a 426-bed acute-care hospital, and two ambulatory-care clinics, one staffed by multispecialty physicians and the other focused on primary care.
Pending Internal Revenue Service approval-which could take up to nine months-a medical services organization has been formed to manage the clinics' physicians on an interim basis.