Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System (Penn Medicine) has announced an alliance with with two Trinity Health (a Catholic hospital chain) hospitals to expand access to care and develop clinical programs in cancer care, cardiology and surgical services in Greater Philadelphia.
One major part of the agreement (whose financial details weren’t disclosed) is for patients at Mercy and St. Mary hospitals to get improved access to tertiary and quaternary care.
The alliance will let Penn Medicine extend more routine care closer to patients’ homes while they continue to be able to use Penn Medicine for complex and specialty care.
FierceHealthcare noted the arrangement is part of “a recent trend which has seen providers eschewing mergers in favor of collaborative efforts. For example, Ascension Health recently walked away from a proposed merger with Providence St. Joseph Health in favor of a strategic overhaul seeking lower-cost ways to manage the increased risk hospital systems are required to take on due to the industry’s shift toward value-based payment models.”
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This HealthAffairs piece looks at the effort to expand the meaning of community health improvement under the tax-exemption for many hospitals.
The authors note: “The requirement that nonprofit hospitals earn their tax-exempt status by benefiting their communities is enshrined in U.S. tax policy. ….”
“The significant reduction in the proportion of uninsured Americans as a result of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health insurance expansions, coupled with the greater focus on community health planning under the ACA’s reforms governing tax-exempt hospitals, has increased interest among hospitals in how they might expand the traditional community benefit concept into a newer and larger force for health and society.
“One such health care delivery system example detailed in this post is (Michigan-based and Catholic) Trinity Health’s “Transforming Communities” initiative. Trinity Health is focusing on community health and well-being as a way to empower low-income, disadvantaged, and underserved populations and communities while also addressing the social determinants of health.
“Going forward, an important question becomes whether national health policies applicable to tax-exempt hospitals should be further revised to more actively encourage investments that improve health on a community-wide basis.”
Two Ohio health systems will jointly contract for accountable care with health plans under a newly created clinically integrated network with broad geographic reach in the Buckeye State.
Cincinnati-based Mercy Health, formerly Catholic Health Partners, and Akron-based Summa Health said that each system’s Accountable Care Organization would join a new organization, Advanced Health Select — a clinically integrated network.
Other large regional systems, such as, in Michigan, Ascension Health and Trinity Health, have been working to broaden their contracting in similar ways
The idea in the Ohio case is to build on ACOs’ success in the Medicare Shared Savings Program and the systems’ total of $100 million invested in the last four years in data analytics, information technology and care coordination.