Reaction to Pennant Health Alliance:
“We are watching the Pennant Health Alliance with interest. We believe this is another example of the types of relationships that are going to emerge as health care moves forward into the future. Certainly there are many different types of partnership models for hospitals to consider. We’re watching the emergence of these models to see what would be of highest benefit to the patients and communities we serve.” — Tim Breed, spokesman, Holland Hospital.
Holland Hospital is hoping to persuade neighboring Zeeland Community Hospital to merge instead of joining Spectrum Health. Zeeland and Spectrum are currently in exclusive merger discussions.
“Community hospitals are facing uncertainty with what’s going on with health care reform and the pressures that are coming to bear with remaining financially viable. However, there are choices out there. We’ve been providing independent hospitals with a choice for 13 years as part of the Spectrum Health Regional Network. They are not proposing anything that doesn’t already exist.” — Bruce Rossman, spokesman, Spectrum Health.
The Spectrum Health Regional Hospital Network includes the seven Spectrum hospitals plus 14 others hospitals from Niles to Grand Haven to Mt. Pleasant. They share group purchasing, clinical consulting and best practices ideas, and Spectrum also sells them services such as billing and certificate of need services. They are legally prohibited from sharing access to capital, employee benefits, managed care contracts, strategic planning and legal counsel.
“I think it is good for West Michigan. I think the idea of competition and patient choice is a good thing. Saint Mary’s and Metro are strong institutions, but need a bigger partner perhaps to be able to survive in this competitive environment. These are accountable care organizations — I can see that creating conflict. All of a sudden now, if physicians are employed by a hospital system — in business school, we call this the agency conflict. Are you an agent of the corporation, of the firm, or are you an agent on behalf of your patient?” — Dr. Donald Condit, Grand Rapids hand surgeon.
Condit works in an independent, two-doctor practice, holds a medical degree from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Grand Valley State University. He also is on the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine faculty.
“I do think the concept is a good idea. I think physicians need to have some options. What you have to realize is that most of the physicians went into private practice for the reason that they would have some control on their destiny, and that control is slowly but surely being taken away. The socioeconomic climate that we live in right now makes it harder and harder and harder to maintain a private practice because of the decreased reimbursements from both Medicare, Medicaid and the insurance companies. It’s hard to make overhead.” — Dr. Patrick Droste, pediatric ophthalmologist.
Droste is in private practice and is a delegate to the Michigan State Medical Society. He is president of the Kent County Medical Society, but stressed that his comments are his views only and don’t represent the society.