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In major consolidation, Banner Health cutting management jobs


Phoenix-based Banner Health is  making some big changes, including restructuring  some operations and cutting some senior executive positions. One aim, Banner says, is to become more patient-focused..

The system told  the Phoenix Business Journal that Banner is moving away from “a traditional hospital system [leadership] structure.” As part of this drive, presumably largely to save money, some units will be consolidated and  some senior executive positions eliminated across several divisions.

To read more, please hit this link.


Aetna, Banner creating jointly owned insurer


Payer Aetna and Phoenix-based provider Banner Health will create and jointly own a health-insurance company offering employer-based insurance in Arizona’s Maricopa and Pinal Counties. The aim is to go from there to statewide.

Becker’s Hospital Review has analyzed the deal and come up with “four things to know” about the collaboration.

1. “The joint venture — called Banner | Aetna — extends the Hartford, Conn.-based payer’s ACO relationship with Banner, which was announced in 2011. Tom Grote, president of Aetna’s Arizona market, said the Aetna Whole Health-Banner Health Network ACO has saved $9.9 million since inception.

2. “Available Jan. 1, the joint health plan will integrate care teams, health insurance and administrative services to streamline policyholders’ care and lower premiums. Aetna members covered under Aetna Whole Health Network ACO plans can also transfer to Banner | Health plans.

3. “Banner Health Network’s 14 hospitals and more than 900 primary- care physicians will network with Aetna. In addition, Aetna’s member site will link to Banner’s patient portal, allowing policyholders to search plan information, providers, claims, test results and schedule appointments.

4. “Banner | Aetna is the payer’s third joint venture with a health system in its quest to switch three-fourths of its contracts to value-based agreements by 2020. ”

Peter Fine, president and CEO of Banner Health, told the Arizona news media: “When payers and providers come together in this kind of genuine collaboration — with a joint approach to serving members and advancing population health — then we have a rare opportunity to reinvent what healthcare will look like tomorrow.”

To read the whole Becker’s article, please hit this link.

8 systems that have successfully moved into value-based care


Dan Beckham, writing in Hospitals &  Health Networks, looks at eight systems that have followed consistent strategies to create value-based systems.

The systems are:

  1. Advocate Health Care:  Mr. Beckham cites how it turned its physician-hospital organizations “into a super-PHO, becoming the national benchmark for clinically integrated networks.”
  2. Banner Health: “Banner centralized leadership and governance, and standardized care and management processes.”
  3. Baylor Scott & White Health: “Scott & White brought its highly integrated multi-specialty group practice model and its health plan to the merger, while Baylor brought a robust network of hospitals, surgery centers and entrepreneurial partnerships.”
  4. Cleveland Clinic: ”A pioneer in transparency related to demonstrated value and bundled contracts, Cleveland Clinic has combined one of America’s premier multi-specialty group practices with community hospitals and independent physicians to produce a powerful economic engine.”
  5. Geisinger Health System: “It is internationally recognized for innovating at the interface between health insurance, inpatient care, outpatient care and physician practice. Few organizations have positioned themselves as purposefully as Geisinger for the transition from volume- to value-based payment.”
  6. Intermountain Healthcare: “The late W. Edwards Deming, a quality icon, was a central inspiration for Intermountain’s relentless battle to drive out variation. While many health systems treated total quality management and its variants as a passing fad, Intermountain dug in and made it a way of life. The presence of Intermountain contributes greatly to Utah’s position as one of America’s healthiest places to live.”
  7. Mayo Clinic: “Its strength flows, to a great extent, from the team-based multispecialty group practice model that has been central to its operations since its founding, along with its unwavering focus on putting patient interests first. The ‘Mayo way’ is well-engineered and nonnegotiable. No organization has deeper, better-connected data.”
  8. Sentara Healthcare: “When other systems experimented with ownership of health plans, then exited in the face of losses, Sentara persevered. When physician employment became too big a financial burden for others, Sentara doubled down. Because it persisted when others folded, it was able to put more than two decades of experience into its intellectual bank vault. It learned to meld a managed care enterprise, a hospital enterprise,  and a physician enterprise into a formidable integrated delivery system.”
    To read all of Mr. Beckham’s piece, please hit this link.

Banner Health throwing away Epic EHR for Cerner’s




Phoenix-based Banner Health announced plans to drop Epic’s $115 million electronic health record system at its two Tucson hospitals and will replace it  with Cerner’s platform, says the Arizona Daily Star.

Becker’s Hospital Review says that the  hospitals — Banner-University Medical Center Tucson and Banner-University Medical Center South — adopted Epic’s system while part of the former University of Arizona Health Network, which Banner acquired March 1.

“The hospitals went live on Epic’s EHR in 2013, and in 2014 they reported significant operating losses in the 2014 fiscal year, such as an having to spend an extra $32 million in unbudgeted costs, according to the report. The total investment for the EHRs reached $115 million,” reports Becker’s.

“Much of the costs were due to a delay in implementation, as the scheduled go-live date was Sept. 1, 2013, but the system wasn’t operational until Nov. 1. During that time, the hospitals experienced extra costs related to additional training and support….”

“Additionally, an April 2014 report financial report to the UA board of directors said $6.8 million of the losses in fiscal year 2014 were attributed to physicians devoting time learning how to use the new system and a decrease in patient volumes, according to the report.”



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