Seven not-for-profit hospitals in the Tampa-St. Petersburg region of Florida signed a letter of intent to form a network designed to consolidate and share healthcare services.
Those pursuing the joint operating agreement are three-hospital Morton Plant Mease Health Care, Clearwater; South Florida Baptist Hospital, Plant City; Bayfront Medical Center, St. Petersburg; St. Joseph's Hospital, Tampa; and St. Anthony's Hospital, St. Petersburg. The new network would likely compete with Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., which owns 14 hospitals in the region.
"One of the things we're trying to form is a regional company that makes our community-based, community-owned systems more successful," said Frank Murphy III, president and chief executive officer of Morton Plant Mease.
Under the JOA, each system's assets and individual foundations would remain separate but all operations would be combined. After three years, the organizations expect to save at least $73 million annually in operating costs.
The name of the network has yet to be determined, and financial terms about its formation weren't disclosed. Executives said the profits would be divvied up according to financial contributions made by member hospitals and systems.
The system will be governed by a 22-member board that will select a CEO for the network in the next two months. The network proposal will be reviewed by federal agencies for possible antitrust violations, but executives don't expect problems.
The network will have about 30% of the market in an area that includes all or parts of five counties in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, which has about 2.2 million residents.