Hospital alliance VHA leapt into the physician gain-sharing business last week with the acquisition of Goodroe Healthcare Solutions, a private consulting firm that has cracked the code for approvals of such programs.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Irving, Texas-based VHA said Goodroe would operate as a wholly owned subsidiary and continue to offer its clinical outcome data to hospitals outside VHA. The firm also will be integrated with VHA's supply chain services, providing "some pricing benefits" to VHA hospitals that use Goodroe's data and analytical tools, said Jeff Hayes, senior vice president of research and development for VHA and acting chief operating officer for Goodroe, which is based in Norcross, Ga.
Gain-sharing arrangements are designed to align the economic interests of hospitals and the physicians by financially rewarding doctors who collaborate in efforts to lower costs. Last week, congressional hearings were held on the issue, where the concept didn't get uniformly warm treatment.
At the hearing, Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) sparred with Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.) chairwoman of the Health Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, and other gain-sharing proponents. Alternately calling the arrangements "kickbacks" and "profit sharing," Stark warned members of the subcommittee that gain-sharing would "adversely affect quality of care."
But the concept is experiencing a revival in large part because of Joane Goodroe, the consulting firm's president and chief executive officer. Earlier this year, Goodroe sought and got legal analyses from HHS' inspector general's office that set cardiology gain-sharing programs in motion (Feb. 21, p. 6). Gain-sharing is only a small piece of managing the high cost of clinical supplies, but, "What's more important is our data. It's key to anything you want to do in healthcare," she said.
A source familiar with Goodroe and the GPO industry said Goodroe had been shopping her business to GPOs, asking approximately $15 million.
-with Matthew DoBias