Memorial Hospital and Manor joins largest healthcare alliance in Southeast

Published 11:26 pm Friday, August 22, 2014

Leaders from Memorial Hospital and Manor in Bainbridge today announced their intent to join Stratus Healthcare, the largest alliance of healthcare providers in the southeastern United States. 

Formed in July 2013, Stratus Healthcare unites healthcare providers across Georgia in one of the nation’s largest collaborations of hospitals, healthcare systems and physicians aligned to develop a clinically-integrated network. Stratus Healthcare currently consists of 31 hospitals and approximately 1,800 physicians, including Memorial Hospital and Manor.

“We are excited about the opportunity to become a member of Stratus Healthcare,” said hospital CEO Billy Walker. “Our alliance with Stratus will allow us to partner with other hospitals within the region to improve the delivery of healthcare to our patients. In addition, our alliance with Stratus allows Memorial Hospital and Manor to become clinically integrated with its partners, yet remain independent.

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“Some of the benefits to our patients include improving clinical outcomes, increasing access to providers through tele-health and providing the right access to the right care. Health care is moving to a fee for value reimbursement model, which is based on improving the clinical outcomes of patients and improving patient satisfaction. Our affiliation with Stratus Healthcare ensures that Memorial Hospital and Manor is positioned for the transition to fee for value.”

Memorial Hospital Chief of Staff, Dean Burke, said of the alliance, “This will help us provide higher quality healthcare with lower costs, while remaining independent.” He went on to explain that by collaborating with other hospitals, we can figure out what our hospital does well, and  having cooperative arrangements with other hospitals, refer to them the cases that they do well.

He described the Stratus alliance as being a lot of different things. For one, it is having an affiliation with other hospitals in the same situations as ours. There is direction toward clinical integration by sharing resources and information with other hospitals. It includes sharing data and statistics needed in Medicare. Basically, the government, instead of paying money for services performed, is paying for value received. “If you don’t meet quality issues you will get paid less,” he explained, and added, “It requires a lot of data collection.”

A non-equity partnership at the outset, Stratus Healthcare 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 work together in a formalized partnership to exchange best practices, combine resources, develop coordinated information systems, reduce costs and manage the health of populations. Memorial Hospital and Manor will take advantage of a shared services model, yet remain independent.

“Memorial Hospital and Manor, like all Stratus partners, shares a common goal of providing patients with the right access to the right care, at the right cost. We are pleased to welcome Bainbridge Memorial Hospital and Manor, an important healthcare leader in this region, to the Stratus Healthcare family,” said Dr. Ninfa Saunders, President and CEO of Central Georgia Health System in Macon, Ga., and co-founder of Stratus Healthcare.

Stratus Healthcare exists to enhance the health and wellness of residents in the communities that Stratus members serve by improving the regional coordination of medical services for patients, employers and payors.

“Providers of all types – including physicians, hospitals and others – have a compelling reason to work more closely with one another on a regional scale to develop clinical guidelines and share clinical outcomes. The timely exchange of electronic patient information, grounded in clinical integration, will be a top priority in the effort to improve quality and prevent duplication or over-utilization of healthcare services. Stratus Healthcare members will work in close partnership with all providers towards the advancement of this endeavor,” said William T. Richardson, President and CEO of Tift Regional Health System in Tifton, Ga., a co-founder of Stratus Healthcare, and Chairman of the Stratus Healthcare Board of Directors.

Healthcare reform has been the driving force in focusing reimbursement based on a fee-for-value framework rather than the fee-for-service model used in the past.

“Stratus Healthcare, along with its physician and hospital partners will create the delivery model for this transformation,” said Saunders.

The collaborative partnership sets the stage for innovation while providing an alternative to mergers and acquisitions in a changing healthcare climate. Stratus Healthcare serves as a vehicle to keep healthcare local with the goal to improve outcomes, enhance the patient experience and increase efficiency as required by healthcare reform. Since its inception, Stratus Healthcare workgroups have developed clinical guidelines, telemedicine connections, transfer arrangements and sharing of outcomes data, as well as collective purchasing, integrated clinical networks and shared business resources.

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