Ninfa Saunders, Medical Center CEO
Hospitals in central and south Georgia announced a new alliance Tuesday, creating the largest system in southeastern United States.
Twenty-three hospitals have teamed up to form Stratus Healthcare, the largest healthcare alliance in Georgia, according to a news release. More than 1,500 doctors are members of the new organization.
"The goal of Stratus Healthcare is to enhance the health and wellness of residents in their communities by improving the regoinal coordination of medical services for patients, employers and payors," according to a press release.
Although the hospitals will be a part of a larger group, the hospitals will still be independent within its own community said Dr. Ninfa Saunders, CEO and president of Central Georgia Health System in Macon.
She said physicians and board members will remain local.
The partnership includes:
Bleckley Memorial Hospital (Cochran)
Central Georgia Health System
-- Medical Center of Central Georgia (Macon)
-- Central Georgia Rehabilitation Hospital (Macon)
-- Medical Center of Peach County (Byron)
Coffee Regional Medical Center (Douglas)
Columbus Regional Health System
-- Columbus Regional Medical Center (Columbus)
-- Doctors Hospital (Columbus)
-- Hughston Hospital (Columbus)
Crisp Regional Hospital (Cordele)
Dodge County Hospital (Eastman)
-- Houston Medical Center (Warner Robins)
-- Perry Hospital (Perry)
Jasper Memorial Hospital (Monticello)
Oconee Regional Medical Center (Milledgeville)
Putnam General Hospital (Eatonton)
South Georgia Medical Center Health System
-- South Georgia Medical Center (Valdosta)
-- Smith Northview Hospital (Valdosta)
-- Louis Smith Memorial Hospital (Lakeland)
-- Clinch Memorial Hospital (Homerville)
-- SGMC-Berrien Campus (Nashville)
Taylor Regional Hospital (Hawkinsville)
Tift Regional Health System
-- Tift Regional Medical Center (Tifton)
-- Cook Medical Center (Adel)
The hospitals' news release:
Hospital Leaders Announce Largest Healthcare Alliance in Southeastern United States
Health Systems Across Georgia Join Partnership
Greensboro, Ga. (July 23, 2013) - Hospital and health System CEOs from central and south Georgia announced today their plans to participate in a newly formed alliance which will create one of the nation's largest collaborations of hospitals, healthcare systems and physicians aligned to develop a clinically-integrated network. The alliance, to be called Stratus Healthcare, consists of 23 hospitals and approximately 1500 physicians. Stratus, a non-equity partnership at the outset, expects to form a non-profit limited liability corporation, pooling both human capital and financial resources to meet its mission and vision. Members of Stratus Healthcare will work together in a formalized partnership to exchange best practices, combine resources, develop coordinated information systems, reduce costs and manage the health of populations. Member hospitals will take advantage of a shared services model, yet remain independent.
Central Georgia Health System (CGHS) in Macon, Ga. and Tift Regional Health System (TRHS) in Tifton, Ga. first announced a partnership in April 2012, and respective presidents/CEOs Dr. Ninfa Saunders and William T. Richardson have worked purposely since October to develop the partnership framework and recruit members for the alliance. Saunders and Richardson said that Stratus Healthcare partners share a common vision for the future and the affiliation provides an alternative to mergers and acquisitions.
Stratus Healthcare will consist of the following member hospitals and respective medical staff physicians:
• Bleckley Memorial Hospital (Cochran)
• Central Georgia Health System
o Medical Center of Central Georgia (Macon)
o Central Georgia Rehabilitation Hospital (Macon)
o Medical Center of Peach County (Byron)
• Coffee Regional Medical Center (Douglas)
• Columbus Regional Health System
o Columbus Regional Medical Center (Columbus)
o Doctors Hospital (Columbus)
o Hughston Hospital (Columbus)
• Crisp Regional Hospital (Cordele)
• Dodge County Hospital (Eastman)
• Houston Healthcare
o Houston Medical Center (Warner Robins)
o Perry Hospital (Perry)
• Jasper Memorial Hospital (Monticello)
• Oconee Regional Medical Center (Milledgeville)
• Putnam General Hospital (Eatonton)
• South Georgia Medical Center Health System
o South Georgia Medical Center (Valdosta)
o Smith Northview Hospital (Valdosta)
o Louis Smith Memorial Hospital (Lakeland)
o Clinch Memorial Hospital (Homerville)
o SGMC-Berrien Campus (Nashville)
• Taylor Regional Hospital (Hawkinsville)
• Tift Regional Health System
o Tift Regional Medical Center (Tifton)
o Cook Medical Center (Adel)
Hospital and physician leaders from each hospital system assembled for a news conference in Greensboro today, stating that the goal of Stratus Healthcare is to enhance the health and wellness of residents in their communities by improving the regional coordination of medical services for patients, employers and payors.
In the future, primary care doctors and specialists will need to work closer together on a regional scale to develop clinical guidelines and the sharing of outcomes data. The timely exchange of electronic patient information is becoming increasingly important to improve quality and prevent duplication or over-utilization of healthcare services. Stratus will coordinate and support physicians in this endeavor.
"Federal healthcare reform will require that medical care be reimbursed based on a fee-for-value framework rather than the fee-for-service model used in the past," said Saunders. "Stratus Healthcare will create the delivery model for this transformation."
Richardson said the name 'Stratus' was chosen because of the upward inference of the word and the alliance's goal to strive for excellence. "The collaborative wants to elevate health care to a higher level," said Richardson. "We wanted an organizational title that reflects our mission to enhance the health and wellness of our patients by delivering exceptional care through a connected community of physicians, hospitals and shared services. Each Stratus partner wants to add value for patients and create scale, yet realizes it could be accomplished much easier through a coordinated effort with other health care organizations. Stratus partners are important healthcare leader within the region, and each partner's contribution is significant."
Saunders said that forming a collaborative partnership sets the stage for innovation in the changing healthcare climate.
She added that Stratus will serve as a vehicle to keep health care local with the goal to improve outcomes, enhance the patient experience and increase efficiency as required by health care reform.
"It's about the right care, the right access at the right cost," said Saunders. "Initially, the Stratus Healthcare work groups will explore primary care, emergency medicine, hospitalist and specialty care networks to include the development of clinical guidelines, telemedicine connections, transfer arrangements and the sharing of outcomes data. Work groups will examine collective purchasing, an integrated clinical network and shared business resources."
For more information, visit www.stratushealthcare.org or contact Megan Allen, Media Relations.