Christ Hospitals decade-plus as a member of the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati was legally over April 10, 2006, notwithstanding the bitter legal battle over the withdrawal that raged on until last week.
Christ Hospital, Health Alliance OK separation terms
Meanwhile, the 511-bed Cincinnati hospital has moved aggressively to re-establish its operational independence.
Resolving a contentious breakup that dragged on nearly three years, the parties announced last week they reached an agreement over the financial terms of the separation, averting a second trial set to begin Jan. 20. They agreed to keep the terms of the resolution confidential, though in the course of the litigation, they aired their acrimony and widely divergent views of the value of Christ Hospitals assets in reams of harshly worded court documents.
An expert opinion the alliance filed in October 2008 concludes Christ Hospitals dissolution value in June 2007 was $394 millionin the neighborhood of the $400 million the hospitals lawyers have floatedbut calculated the figure owed by the end of 2008 was $105 million because of assets already transferred and other adjustments.
The Health Alliance, now a four-hospital system with a fifth set to open this year in West Chester, Ohio, declined to comment beyond a statement included in a joint news release, in which President and Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Hanover said that the resolution allows the system to move forward. We will face challenges, but we are committed to continuing to provide comprehensive, high-quality and community-oriented care, consistent with our long tradition of service to the region, he said.
Christ Hospital has re-created the functions it handed off to the alliance when it became a charter member in 1995, even though its assets remained tied up in the litigation. Its like changing your engine while driving your car at 90 miles an hour, President and CEO Susan Croushore said. We were cash-flowing a lot of what we were doing through our operations, which is pretty extraordinary, she said. The Health Alliance was highly centralized as a health system with all the back-office departments. The hospital also invested in its own health information technology system, disconnecting the last IT link with the alliance in September 2008.
The dispute started in early 2006 when Christ Hospital moved to sever its participation in the system, and the following year a judge in Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas ruled that the hospital had legally withdrawn.
As an appeal by the Health Alliance moved along in the background, the opponents entered talks mediated by the states attorney general, which broke down and prompted Christ Hospital to file a second lawsuit essentially asking the judge to force the alliance to pay what Christ Hospital believed it was due based on the conclusion of the first trial.
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.