Conway Regional Will Explore 'Affiliation' with St. Vincent

by Lance Turner  on Thursday, May. 1, 2014 1:11 pm  

Conway Regional Health System's east entrance. (Photo by Conway Regional Health System)

The Conway Regional Health System Board of Directors said Thursday that it plans to enter into "exclusive strategic affiliation discussions" with St. Vincent Health System of Little Rock, an affiliate of Catholic Health Initiatives.

Conway Regional said in October that it was exploring "potential strategic affiliation options," including partnering with another health care provider or system. The move comes amid sweeping changes to the health care industry.

It also comes as Baptist Health System of Little Rock prepares to enter the fast-growing Conway market with a new, 100-bed hospital expected to open in 2016.

Arkansas Business reported last week that St. Vincent was among the health care organizations that Conway Regional was considering for an affiliation.

Peter Banko, St. Vincent's president and CEO, said the health system would be flexible about how a partnership with Conway Regional would work.

"We don’t expect patients to come to Little Rock," Banko said in our April 21 cover story.

Banko also said St. Vincent wouldn’t own, manage or lease property on Conway Regional’s property, and Conway Regional would continue to have its management team in place.

Conway Regional's news release said the health system expects "several months of further discussions and negotiations before a final agreement can be reached ..." It stressed that the deal would not be a sale or acquisiton.

"Both St. Vincent and Conway Regional will retain their autonomy, individual identities and separate corporate governance structures," Conway Regional said. "The affiliation is intended to be structured in a way that will bring value to both organizations and the communities they serve."

In his Arkansas Business interview, Banko said a deal between the two would cost savings and revenue growth for both systems.

A Common Vision

In its news release, Conway Regional said it reviewed partnership proposals from "numerous organizations" and determined that St. Vincent's proposal was "most aligned with the needs and vision of Conway Regional."



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