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Yale New Haven Health Partners with Tenet Healthcare in CT

By John Commins  
   March 07, 2014

Connecticut's largest health system and Tenet will remain independent of one another, but would work together to improve clinical services and coordinate care and referrals at four hospitals in the state.

Yale New Haven Health System announced Thursday that it has formed a partnership Tenet Healthcare Corporation. The move comes as the Dallas-based for-profit hospital chain expands its footprint in Connecticut. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Yale New Haven CEO Marna Borgstrom says the blue-chip system, which is the largest health system in the state, and Tenet will remain independent of one another, but would work together to improve clinical services and coordinate care and referrals at four hospitals in Connecticut that Tenet is acquiring.

Those hospitals are: Waterbury Hospital, a teaching hospital in Waterbury, CT, Bristol Hospital in Bristol, CT, and Eastern Connecticut Health Network, which includes two hospitals in Manchester and Rockville, CT.

"We and Tenet are in the process of trying to put this in place and keep these hospitals as strong as possible," Borgstrom said in a telephone interview. "We can help in these communities where the medical communities want this to supplement the clinical resources that they have had trouble replacing. It is about keeping the appropriate amount of care local. It is not about bringing it all down to the academic medical center because right now it is imperative on all of us to ensure that care is given in the lowest-cost appropriate setting."

Borgstrom says discussions had been ongoing with Vanguard Health System about a possible collaboration before Tenet's $4.3 billion acquisition of Vanguard last year. The talks continued with Tenet.

"Opportunities like this are organic and they grow out of relationships and fundamentally there were some hospitals that were looking for an opportunity to become part of a system that we felt we couldn't meet through the Yale New Haven Health System. So, they began to talk to Vanguard [and] now Tenet," Borgstrom said.

"We have had relationships with these organizations and when they began talking with the leadership in Vanguard who we have also known for a long time they also talked with us and said 'this is in your neck of the woods. Is there an opportunity for us to do something together?' We said 'let's explore it' and that is how it evolved."

Yale and Tenet said in a joint media release on Thursday that the collaboration would "create a comprehensive healthcare delivery network in Connecticut, with the intention to expand into the greater Northeast region."

"Using the strengths of each organization, the partnership will enhance the efficiency and coordination of healthcare in the region by offering comprehensive clinical services to a larger geography," the two systems said. "Additional plans include creating a clinically integrated delivery platform with local physician groups and entering into value-based contractual relationships with employers and other payers of healthcare services."

Tenet Vice Chairman Keith Pitts said the agreement "capitalizes on the respective strengths of both organizations and will enhance the clinical care and the access to that care in the communities we serve. The partnership will bring improved clinical technologies, increased economies of scale, and capital resources to the hospitals, ambulatory care centers and physician practices that we will become affiliated with in the future."

Borgstrom says Yale New Haven "brings to the table a strong brand that brand reflects a commitment to a whole array of healthcare services including tertiary care services, medical education, and opportunities to work with physicians in different ways because we have a large and robust group of physicians not only on the fulltime faculty but in the community."

"Clearly what Tenet brings to the table is much deeper experience in integrating and enhancing community-based healthcare and these are hospitals that were in search of a variety of things from capital to certain kinds of transformational management experience," Borgstrom said.

"Tenet has great experience there. Together we can also build off of some experience with Vanguard and Tenet have in understanding what it means to take insurance risk and how to make that productive for all parties. But fundamentally, this is about preserving access to patient care, enhancing that access, and providing the right kinds of care in these communities."

John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

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