AvMed-Santa Fe, a Gainesville, Fla.-based integrated healthcare system, has left VHA and joined American Healthcare Systems as its 40th shareholder.
Officials at AvMed said the decision to join AmHS was made primarily because the San Diego-based alliance represents a greater number of integrated healthcare systems than VHA. AmHS has about 1,000 members.
"We felt there is a better cultural fit with AmHS," said Gerald O'Neil, AvMed's senior vice president.
Over the past several years, hospitals and systems have played musical chairs with various alliances as providers seek the best corporate fit for their organizations. Last month, for example, Samaritan Health Foundation left AmHS after merging with HealthPartners of Southern Arizona, a Tucson-based VHA shareholder.
AvMed joins a growing group of AmHS shareholders-including Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Henry Ford Health System and UniHealth America-that operate integrated healthcare systems with large managed-care components. Henry Ford also is a former VHA shareholder.
"AvMed not only gives us hospitals, but also the managed-care component in Florida," said Jack Bernard, AmHS' vice president of strategic planning and marketing.
AvMed owns AvMed Health Plan, a statewide 265,000-enrollee HMO that has contracts with 110 hospitals and more than 5,000 physicians. It owns or manages six hospitals and operates a 17-county home health agency and an 11-county hospice.
O'Neil said AvMed plans to use AmHS' group purchasing contracts and other services to encourage some of the 110 hospitals under HMO contracts to become AmHS affiliates.
AvMed purchases $70 million to $80 million in supplies each year, O'Neil said.
AmHS operates a $4 billion purchasing program. VHA, by comparison, purchased $6.4 billion in supplies for its 1,138 member hospitals last year.
In 1994, AvMed's operating income increased 27% to $28 million, and operating revenues rose 9% to $506 million. About 80% of its revenues are derived from premiums, O'Neil said.