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Valley Baptist, Knapp Medical Explore Nonprofit Health System for South Texas

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, April 16, 2010

Trustees at Harlingen, TX-based Valley Baptist Health System and Knapp Medical Center in Weslaco, TX, have signed a memorandum of understanding to create a new nonprofit health system for the Rio Grande Valley region of South Texas.

The deal is expected to be finalized by summer, the healthcare providers said in a joint statement.

"Residents have relied on Valley Baptist Health System and Knapp Medical Center for many years for their health and well-being," said James Eastham, president/CEO of Valley Baptist, a faith-based regional health system. "By coming together to form this new health system, we would be assuring that not-for-profit health care in this area would be preserved and strengthened. We are excited about the future and think this is great news for the Valley, our patients, and our two organizations including our employees and physicians."

"In light of the current environment surrounding healthcare and reform efforts, the new system would not only benefit patients, but also the founding organizations themselves," Eastham said. "The new organization would provide residents with broader access to services and physicians, streamline business operations, and maximize community resources by avoiding duplication of costs and leverage increased buying power for non-salary items."

The new healthcare system, subject to regulatory approval, would provide both founding organizations with the operational, clinical, and contract negotiation advantages of a larger organization while allowing each to maintain its focus on its community mission, said Jim Summersett, president/CEO of Knapp Medical Center, a nonprofit community hospital.

"As a not-for-profit entity, the new system would continue to invest in people, technology and facilities to continue to improve care and maintain the high standards of quality residents have to come to expect from us," Summersett said. "We recognize the equity that each health system has with the public in terms of its name and brand recognition. So, each would continue to use its own name and operate as not-for-profit members of the new health system."


John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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