UAMS, St. Vincent Sign Deal to Explore Collaboration

by Mark Friedman  on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012 11:22 am  

St. Vincent Health System CEO Peter Banko

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and St. Vincent Health System said Thursday that they have entered into "a nonbinding letter of intent to explore opportunities for an affiliation to deliver collaborative and or integrated services."

The two said they have been in discussion "for the last several weeks," "exploring various affiliation opportunities." They said the letter of intent will allow each to share proprietary information with the other as they consider their options.

On Thursday, St. Vincent CEO Peter Banko told that over the next couple of months, officials from the state-owned UAMS and St. Vincent, which is operated by Catholic Health Initiatives, will "look what we could do together and what we couldn't do together."

"From my view, everything needs to be on the table," he said.

Banko said that by working together, both sides can improve access to care, improve quality and reduce duplication of services.

"There are too many open heart surgery programs in central Arkansas," he said, citing an example. "I think there's opportunity to enhance research and education."

Leslie Welch Taylor, a spokeswoman for UAMS, said UAMS informed Gov. Mike Beebe's office that it was having discussions with St. Vincent, but that there's no partnership plan on his desk.

Stacey Hall, a spokeswoman for the governor's office, said it's too early to know if gubernatorial approval for a UAMS-St. Vincent partnership will be required.

"It's going to depend on the details," she said. "We don't have quite enough information yet."


Banko said the next step is for both entities to hire a consultant, Deloitte Consulting to examine areas where two could partner. A contract with Deloitte, which would cost at least $1 million, is pending and will require approval by the Legislative Council.

According to a preliminary version of the UAMS-St. Vincent contract with Deloitte, the firm will spend about 11 weeks looking at areas where "combination efficiencies" might be achieved: administration, clinical support services, information technology and "selected clinical service lines," including cardiovascular services and oncology.



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