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Tanner Health Playing Role In New Medical Alliance

Four medical service providers in west Georgia—Floyd Medical Center, located in Rome; Hamilton Medical Center, Inc., based in Dalton; Tanner Health System, of Carrollton; and West Georgia Health Services, Inc., headquartered in LaGrange—recently entered an alliance to focus on ways to more efficiently and more effectively provide patient-centered services that cover contiguous communities throughout the west Georgia region. Member organizations will operate autonomously while maximizing collective resources and service quality.
 
The Tanner, West Georgia, Floyd and Hamilton Collaboration, LLC, will draw on the resources, expertise and experience of its members to deliver innovative and responsive patient care with a commitment to quality and efficiency.
 
Why are these organizations forming a collaborative?
 
Working with other alliance members will improve the community’s health by providing patients, payers and employers with a network of the region’s highest value healthcare providers collaborating to design new approaches to improve quality, patient experience and cost for all.
 
Is this a precursor to a merger?
 
There are no plans for the member organizations to merge. The purpose of this alliance is to improve quality and efficiencies while respecting the independence of each individual member organization.
 
Why these particular organizations?
 
The members serve contiguous locations in west Georgia, have similar missions and visions, serve similar communities and provide services within a fairly defined area with no overlapping primary service areas.
 
How will these four organizations benefit?
 
The benefits realized by each organization depend on the programs implemented. The goal is to improve operations by working together, sharing best practices, improving quality and reducing costs through economies of scale.
 
 
Who is the management of this affiliation?
 
The alliance will be managed by a board of directors, with each member’s CEO serving as a board member, unless another designee is otherwise appointed and approved by the collaboration’s board.
 
 When will this alliance begin? When was the partnership formed?
 
The chief executive officers of the four participating organizations began informal discussions last spring to explore options for developing an alliance. Their respective governing bodies recently approved the next step of establishing an official relationship through a limited liability corporation (LLC), which was registered with the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office on Oct. 21, 2013.
 
This is only the beginning phase for the alliance. The CEOs share optimism for the goals and potential objectives they hope to achieve. Because it remains in its organizational phase, there are still many goals, objectives and details to work through. As planning and implementation progresses, the respective health systems will post updated information on their respective Web sites.
 
 Will members share expenses related to implementation equally?
 
The member organizations will equally share expenses for the establishment and general operations of this collaboration, including an alliance-wide clinically integrated network of hospital and physician providers. However, specific shared services project expenses other than for clinical integration will be handled differently. The collaboration’s board of directors will consider, approve and prioritize shared services projects to be implemented by the collaboration. Such shared services projects may include group purchasing or information systems initiatives. While all members will participate in clinical integration, each member organization will choose whether or not to participate in an individual shared services project. If only three organizations opt to participate in a selected shared service, the expenses for that initiative will be divided among the three participants.
 
If an organization believes a certain shared service initiative will not benefit its operation, there is no obligation for that organization to participate.
 
 What influence has the Affordable Care Act (ACA) had on this new way of delivering services?
 
The ACA challenges healthcare organizations to operate more efficiently than ever before while improving quality to even higher standards. This collaboration will enable member organizations to work together to achieve these goals, which are ever-evolving. By improving quality and cost-effective treatment, the member organizations will be better positioned to address all aspects of the evolving environment surrounding the delivery of health care necessitated by implementation of the ACA.
 
 How will this collaboration impact physicians?
 
Employed physicians may benefit from improvements in practice management, reduced supply and equipment expenses, and working with payers to design innovative health plan products. Admitting physicians may see improvements in inpatient and outpatient care, as well as opportunities to participate in new treatment protocols and procedures. All physicians will benefit from expanded educational and training opportunities, new clinical research initiatives and an expanded role in population health management.
 
 The collaboration will draw on the resources, expertise and experience of its members to deliver innovative and responsive patient care with a commitment to quality and efficiency. This partnership will better position the participants to share expertise in the years to come to improve the health of each participant’s community. The four participating healthcare providers will improve operations by working together, sharing best practices, improving quality and reducing costs through economies of scale.
 
Will other health systems have the opportunity to participate in this collaboration?
 
While this alliance currently has four member organizations, the board of directors may take the opportunity, as opportunities arise, to accept other like-minded organizations with similar compositions, missions and visions to join this  alliance. Any new member organization must be approved unanimously by current members and adhere to all terms and conditions established by the collaboration.
 
Tanner Health System, located in Carrollton, is a 318-bed, four-hospital, nonprofit regional healthcare provider with more than 300 physicians serving west Georgia and east Alabama. Tanner’s facilities include Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton, Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica, Higgins General Hospital in Bremen and the inpatient behavioral health facility Willowbrooke at Tanner in Villa Rica. Tanner also operates Tanner Medical Group, one of metro Atlanta’s largest multi-specialty physician groups.
 
West Georgia Health includes West Georgia Medical Center, a 276-bed full service hospital located in LaGrange, with more than 100 physicians. West Georgia Health provides healthcare services to communities in west Georgia and east Alabama. The health system also includes the Florence Hand Home and the Twin Fountains Home, both skilled-nursing facilities with more than 200 beds combined. The health system also is home to the Enoch Callaway Cancer Clinic, West Georgia Heart Clinic, West Georgia Home Care and West Georgia Hospice. West Georgia Health also operates West Georgia Physicians, a multi-specialty physician group.
 
 Floyd Medical Center, located in Rome, is a 304-bed acute care hospital and regional referral center with more than 300 physician specialists and 2,600 employees. Floyd provides medical care in northwest Georgia and northeast Alabama. The Floyd family of healthcare services includes Polk Medical Center, a 25-bed critical access hospital in Cedartown; Floyd Behavioral Health Center; Floyd Corporate Health; Floyd Emergency Medical Services; the Floyd Primary Care physician and urgent care network; Heyman HospiceCare at Floyd; The Breast Center at Floyd; Floyd Outpatient Surgery Center and numerous additional inpatient and outpatient ancillary services.
 
 Hamilton Health Care System, located in Dalton, includes Hamilton Medical Center, a 282-bed regional referral hospital that is affiliated with more than 200 physicians. Hamilton Medical Center operates the Bradley Wellness Center, Hamilton Specialty Care, Hamilton Home Health and Hamilton Hospice. Hamilton Emergency Medical Services, operating through a contract with Whitfield County, manages emergency rescue services for the county and is designated by the state of Georgia as an advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) service.
 
 
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