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AKRON -- The Summa Health System Board of Directors has approved a letter of intent with Cincinnati-based Catholic Health Partners to create a strategic partnership, pending final negotiations.
Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna, an independent county-owned hospital, works in alliance with Summa.
The decision comes after Summa's announcement in July that it would seek a like-minded, larger nonprofit partner to enhance its strategic initiatives and strengthen its financial position in exchange for a minority interest in the organization in which Summa retains majority ownership and local control.
"We have had the unique opportunity to get to know several leading national health care organizations throughout this process," said Norman Wells, Jr., chairman of the board of Summa Health System. "Our experience with each has been extremely positive, and we have learned a great deal about what makes them successful. When looking specifically at what is most important to us, I am confident that Catholic Health Partners is the right group to join us on our journey to transform the delivery of health care."
The decision to seek a potential partner is part of Summa's three-year strategic planning process, which includes multiple initiatives to prepare the organization for a new era of health care. In addition, as Summa continues implementation of its performance improvement initiative to become more efficient throughout the organization, there are synergies with CHP around the areas of care redesign, revenue cycle, supply chain and enhanced productivity that will help Summa realize more efficiencies and value for the community, Wells said.
Several strategic population health initiatives also are under way separately around which Summa and CHP share a common vision:
Both organizations have accountable care organizations that currently are participating in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Medicare Shared Savings Program.
Both organizations have implemented a Patient Centered Medical Home strategy that has resulted in several practices being certified as National Committee for Quality Assurance Level 3 medical homes.
Both organizations have prepared for the transition to value-based payments through participation in initiatives such as the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation Bundled Payment pilot and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Partnership for Patients.
Summa and CHP already have begun working together to expand the SummaCare Medicare Advantage product to new markets in 2012 for the 2013 coverage period.
"When we began this process, we were very clear that we would only enter into an agreement with a non-profit organization that shared our mission, vision and values," said Tom Strauss, Summa Health System president and CEO. "While there still is a great deal of work to be done during the next several months to finalize a partnership, I believe that CHP shares our view that the way health care is delivered in our nation must change. At Summa, we are well positioned for future success, but together with CHP, I believe that we can truly be transformational."
Summa's search to find a potential partner was led by the Summa Board of Directors, which appointed a special committee comprised of members of the board, system leadership and the medical staff to provide input into the process. The search included approximately ten large non-profit health care organizations headquartered both inside and outside of the state of Ohio.
Negotiations are scheduled for completion within mid-year.