CHI St. Vincent announced Tuesday that it signed a five-year management agreement with Conway Regional Health System that becomes effective Monday.
As Arkansas Business has reported, the Conway Regional Health System board of directors had been in "exclusive strategic affiliation discussions" since May 2014 with CHI St. Vincent, an affiliate of Catholic Health Initiatives.
The partnership calls for each health system to keep its name and boards of directors, according to a joint news release.
"The partnership is not a merger between our organizations, so both health systems retain their independence," Chad S. Aduddell, chief executive officer of CHI St. Vincent, said in an interview with Arkansas Business.
Aduddell said the two organizations made the move because the cost of health care has become unsustainable, "both nationally and locally."
"So we're having to find ways to work together to partner, to continue to improve access, improve quality, but also reduce the cost of care," he said. "This strategic partnership between Conway and CHI St. Vincent allows us to work together without either organization changing its identity."
The two health care companies also announced Tuesday the formation of a new organization, Arkansas Health Alliance, designed to help independent community hospitals and health care systems "work together and achieve a greater level of clinical integration and coordination of care," Aduddell said. "All while reducing the cost of care."
Aduddell said Arkansas Health Alliance is convening a group of independent community hospitals from around the state. But no other hospitals have joined the Alliance yet.
Jim Lambert, president and CEO of Conway Regional, will be the president of the Arkansas Health Alliance starting Monday.
"Having the opportunity to build an organization of this kind that has the potential to help not only Conway Regional, but other independent community hospitals throughout the state is very exciting," Lambert said in a news release. "I know through my service on the board of the Arkansas Hospital Association, many independent hospitals are looking for an ally in today's rapidly changing health care environment."
Matt Troup, vice president of ancillary and support services for CHI St. Vincent, will succeed Lambert as president and CEO of Conway Regional.
Troup has about 20 years of experience serving in administrative leadership positions at large medical centers, the news release said. Troup will continue to be a CHI employee, but will also be Conway Regional's president and CEO, Aduddell said.
The partnership comes as Baptist Health of Little Rock continues construction of a 111-bed hospital in Conway that is scheduled to open next year.