On Tuesday, May 1, Cabell Huntington Hospital completed the final steps of financing and paperwork for the consummation of the transaction with Pallottine Health Services, Inc., to acquire St. Mary's Medical Center (SMMC). This was the final step in the lengthy process that began in 2014.
"Today is a historic day that we will reflect on for decades," stated Kevin Yingling, RPh, MD, Chairman, CHH Board of Directors. "Throughout the nearly four-year quest, members of the medical community, business community and community at-large have maintained the vision of creating a medical system that benefits the community by improving quality, access and affordability. On behalf of the Cabell Huntington Hospital Board of Directors, thank you for your unwavering support. We are committed to working with these separate organizations to build a regional system that will exceed your expectations."
"We now have the opportunity to work together and share best practices in quality and patient experience that will move care in this region to the next level for patients," stated Kevin Fowler, President and Chief Executive Officer, CHH. "We look forward to continuing as independent entities, yet challenging each other to improve specialized services, implementing new technologies and defining the future health care for this region and beyond."
According to Michael Sellards, President and Chief Executive Officer, SMMC, "We are pleased that the transaction has been finally been completed. While we embrace our separate and distinct cultures, CHH and SMMC have a shared vision for the needs of our community and are fully invested in meeting them. The significance of local ownership ensures decisions are made that benefit our region and meet the growing health care needs of the poor and uninsured."
"The driving force behind the transaction is to deliver access to the highest quality care in the most cost effective and efficient manner to our community," said Monte Ward, CHH Senior Vice President and Chief Acquisition and Financial Officer. "Reducing health care costs while improving the specialized services offered at both facilities are essential to long-term sustainability in this new health care environment. By complementing our unique strengths, we can reinvest dollars locally and bolster the region's economic vitality."
With the closing of the transaction, the process can begin to create a comprehensive healthcare system for the region. The first step in that process has been taken with the naming of Gary White to serve as Interim CEO of the system. In that role, Mr. White will be responsible for the operational and strategic planning of the two hospitals as they each become an integral part of the system. In doing so, he will be laying the groundwork for the permanent system CEO.
"Both St. Mary's Medical Center and Cabell Huntington Hospital will maintain individual identities with a business model that aligns the organizations to become a regional healthcare leader," stated White. "Each nationally-recognized organization will continue to operate as a separate, fully functioning facility, while working together to provide the best technology, processes and expertise."
Now that the transaction is complete, CHH and SMMC will begin carrying out the plans that were outlined four years ago. They include adopting uniform best practices and common protocols, developing centers of excellence, integrating electronic medical records, avoiding costly equipment duplication, recruiting highly trained physician specialists, and coordinating and implementing wellness and population health measures.