Alabama's largest healthcare system and a Roman Catholic hospital sponsored by Daughters of Charity National Health System have signed a letter of intent to collaborate on several managed-care initiatives and clinical services.
Baptist Health System, an 11-hospital system based in Birmingham, and 338-bed St. Vincent's Hospital in Birmingham also agreed to consolidate or coordinate unspecified services, officials said.
"This agreement gives us a partner with the same values and a common mission," said Dennis Hall, BHS' president and chief executive officer.
Hall said the ar-rangement will give the partners increased clout in the managed-care arena as well as allow the hospitals to reduce costs and expand services to the poor. A final agreement is expected to be signed by June 30.
In addition, St. Vincent's sponsor, Daughters of Charity National Health System-East Central, has agreed to invest an unspecified amount of money into BHS' Health Partners HMO, which serves 80,000 enrollees.
St. Vincent's also agreed to reactivate its 50% membership in Health Net, a BHS-owned PPO with 110,000 enrollees.
As part of the agreement, the hospitals plan to explore consolidating or coordinating home healthcare, hospital, long-term care and other services.
In 1993, St. Vincent's joined Alabama Health Services, a for-profit joint venture formed by three other Birmingham hospitals. But St. Vincent's never fully participated in that arrangement, officials said.
AHS includes for-profit Brookwood Medical Center and not-for-profit hospitals Medical Center East and Lloyd Noland Hospital.