Tag Archives: University of Arizona Health Network

fine

CEO leads Banner Health through healthcare ‘re-invention’

Around the first of the year, Phoenix-based Banner Health is expected to close on a nearly $1 billion deal to acquire the University of Arizona Health Network and its subsidiaries. The deal will make Banner the largest private employer in the state, will pump least $500 million of spending on capital projects into the state’s economy of the the next five years and will pay of UAHN’s long-term debt, which totals about $146 million. Az Business sat down with Peter Fine, Banner’s president and CEO, to talk about the impact of the acquisition and the state of the healthcare industry.

Az Business: How have you been able to grow Banner through all the uncertainty in the healthcare industry?
Peter Fine: We have a lot of smart people at Banner. There is good leadership. There is good strategic thinking. There is great accountability. There is great discipline. There is great focus. It’s an organization that plans the work and works the plan.

AB: Hw have you been able to instill the discipline needed for growth?
PF: It’s a leadership culture. It’s an organization that strives to achieve, decides what it needs to get it done, throws a lot of resources at it to get t done and has leaders who feel accomplished when they achieve.

AB: Banner bought Casa Grande Medical Center last year when it was facing major financial issues. How were you able to turn it around so quickly?
PF: In this day and age of healthcare, there are a lot of pressures on healthcare organizations. Pressures are caused by a highly complicated environment, things are very ambiguous and it’s not always clear what to do. When you’re trying to respond to that kind of environment, which is an industry that’s trying to re-invent itself, that puts enormous pressure on individual organizations to maintain financial stability, high clinical quality and have the resources needed to invest in those things needed to re-invent yourself. Banner is able to spread fixed overhead over a big base. In a situation where an industry is re-inventing itself, you have to make investments — financial investments, people investments, resources , capital investments  — and that becomes hard to do when it’s an industry that’s having its reimbursement environment restricted. So it becomes even more important to find ways to spread that fixed overhead investment over a big base to bring down your costs for services. Casa Grande recognized the reality of today’s world and its position in today’s world and believed that working with Banner would provide advantages for the community by creating a more stable environment.

AB: How does that business relationship impact patient care?
PF: We have a care model that we like to put in place. We have an electronic environment that has has been very beneficial in improving outcomes. Our ability to provide capabilities that some of the more rural hospitals could never have one their own leads to an enhanced clinical environment.

AB: How is consolidation helping the healthcare industry?
PF: Consolidation is doing multiple things. 1) It’s letting organizations grow and spread fixed overhead over a big base. 2) It’s allowing organizations to make investments that they might not otherwise be able to make because it can bring financial stability. 3) It allows us to get into new ways of providing business, so the Banner Health Network was created to allow us to get into value-based care and population health management. If we didn’t have all the infrastructure of Banner Health, it would be impossible to provide that capability. It offers new options to the public. It offers new options to businesses, where they can contract for services and bring down their cost-per-unit of service because it’s based on our ability to manage care. At the end of the day, it’s going to be very, very hard to get a whole lot more improvement on the acquisition of product to bring down your costs. There’s only so far you can go on managing labor and still provide a reasonable product. The next great effort to reduce the cost of healthcare is to manage care better, which means you have to have techniques and capabilities in place to look at the cost of care and decide what is really necessary in the provision of care and where can you reduce the use of services, especially for chronic care patients. If you coordinate care better, you’re going to use services better, as opposed to an environment where there is no coordination, duplication of services, duplication of testing and there is more cost associated with that. So this whole issue of providing people with the right care at the right time at the right place is really what the coordination of care is all about, what value-based care is all about and what risk assumption of care is all about. From our perspective, if you can organize yourself structurally to do that, you then have an opportunity to be far more competitive, especially with organizations that are putting more and more of the costs onto the consumer through co-payments, deductibles and reductions of coverage. Therefore, we are moving into consumer world where people are going to make decisions on how they purchase healthcare far differently than they’ve made those decisions before. It’s going to be based on where they can get the best value for the dollar that they’re spending.

AB: What do you expect from Round 2 of healthcare exchange enrollment?
PF: Some of the insurers provided an unsustainable price for the product they were trying to provide, so I think some of those prices are going to go up. I think there will be continued growth in the exchanges, partly because I think employers are going to start making different decisions on their coverage within their employee population.

AB: What’s been the impact of the Medicaid expansion?
PF: I can tell you I think it’s been a boon for the state. We’ve seen a significant impact. It’s had its desired effect. We’ve had a decrease of uninsured an increase of Medicaid-insured population as well as people on exchanges. But remember, a population like Medicaid pays of 63 cents or 65 cents on the dollar of full cost. That means we are still cross-subsidizing off of some other category. But it is taking that category where there was no reimbursement at all and and making that category smaller. The best thing is that the part paid for by the federal government is only going to go up. 17 percent down to 10 percent.

AB: How do you hope the acquisition of the University of Arizona Health Health Network will impact the business side Banner Health?
PF: It’s a big acquisition and a complicated acquisition. Part of the goal is to help stabilize an academic environment which is beneficial to the state, but another part of the goal is growing Banner’s presence in other markets and build our state-wide presence for various contracting opportunities later on. It has the potential to be highly beneficial and we will be the primary teaching relationship for the two medical schools. We think we can help stabilize some of the issue around academic medicine and the clinical environment surrounding academic medicine. For us, it links us to a research and academic environment that we think will enhance the work that we do.

AB: How do you hope the purchase of the University of Arizona Health Health Network will impact the cutting-edge research already being done at Banner Health?
PF: It’s going to grow the research base of Banner. Today, Alzheimer’s is the biggest focus for us from a research perspective. As we move into a more direct environment with the medical schools, we are going to find other opportunities to invest significantly into this world of research as it pertains to the clinical environment. You’re going to see us make more investment in the clinical research side. I know there are folks at UA who love the idea of having access to the totality of Banner’s database, which can advance the research cause of the medical school.

AB: How does research fit into your mission and goals for Banner Health?
PF: Research has not been a priority in the past. It has been driven mostly by specific physician interest. When we acquired the Sun Health system in 2008, we acquired the Sun Health Research Institute, so that pushed some of our thinking. Clearly, our Alzheimer’s Institute has been a major area of focus. With this new relationship, I think you’re going to see a growing effort to be more involved in research, but specifically clinical research to improve patient outcomes and devise strategies to improve population health management.

AB: Which of Banner Health’s accomplishments give you the most pride?
PF: I came to Banner 14 months after the creation of the organization. (Editor’s note: Banner Health was created on Sept. 1, 1999, when nonprofits Samaritan Health System and Lutheran Health Systems announced their merger). Part of the job when was came was respecting history, but not being controlled by it. The goal was to take the historical essence and cultures of two organizations and create a new one. That can be very risky because people are very proud of their historical base. I’m not a retrospective thinker, I’m a prospective thinker. But if I had to say what I’m most proud of, it’s that we’ve been able to get Banner to look to the future, to not hold onto its historical past, recognize that this is an industry in turmoil that’s being re-invented and get people to focus on where we are going.

AB: How did you make that happen?
PF: Thirteen years ago, we created “Banner’s 2020 Vision,” which has been Banner’s guide since that period of time. It’s a 20-year-game plan to re-invent the organization. Some would say, “That’s really bold. You’re going to produce a 20-year game plan to direct your organization for that long a period of time?” We did and it has been a guiding reference tool for us for all the things we do — for strategies that we have, for tactics that we implement, the way we focus people, the way we pay people. It has been an overriding influence on the company’s direction and approach for dealing with an industry in turmoil. Without this guide, Banner could have been an organization that fell off the cliff. Instead of that happening, we’ve been able to bring together two cultures and get them to ficus on the future and it’s been one of Banner’s hallmark successes.

health

Banner Health acquiring all UA medical facilities

In a historic move that will transform the health care landscape in Arizona, the University of Arizona Health Network (UAHN) and the University of Arizona (UA) executed a Principles of Agreement document with Banner Health, to create a statewide health care organization and a comprehensive new model for academic medicine. This ground-breaking agreement will formalize discussions and is intended to lead to final definitive agreements sometime in the fall.

The proposed transaction is anticipated to generate approximately $1 billion in new capital, academic investments, and other consideration and value beneficial to UA and the community.

The anticipated transition of 6,300 employees working at UAHN’s two hospitals, the health plan and the medical group into Banner will create Arizona’s largest private employer with more than 37,000 employees.

The action follows votes from the UAHN and Banner boards of directors in support of proceeding with negotiations, as well as a vote by the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) to authorize UA to also move forward with UAHN and Banner. The parties will now work together towards final definitive agreements, anticipated to be completed and signed in September of this year. The definitive agreements must also be approved by ABOR and the boards of directors of UAHN and Banner. The proposed transaction is expected to close a few months following the signing of the definitive agreements.

“We are impressed by the thoughtfulness and thoroughness that has driven the UAHN board process in determining how best to meet the future needs of those they serve. In addition, this agreement strengthens and can accelerate the discovery efforts of our Colleges of Medicine in Tucson and Phoenix, leading to medical advances,” said ABOR Chair Rick Myers.

Proposed transition key elements:

• Create an Arizona-based, statewide health system that improves care for all the state’s citizens • Create a nationally leading health system that provides better care and improved patient and member experiences at lower costs through valued-based or accountable care organizations that utilize population health management models that emphasize wellness;
• Expand University of Arizona Medical Center capabilities for complex academic/clinical programs such as transplantations, neurosciences, genomics-driven precision health, geriatrics, and pediatrics while providing for investment opportunities in other areas;
• Bolster fiscal sustainability, eliminating persistent shortfalls and low operating margins currently experienced by UAHN.

In addition to solving the immediate financial needs, the proposed agreement will:

• Eliminate the debt burdening UAHN (currently projected to be $146 million)
• Provide resources for improved hospital infrastructure, including the $21 million purchase of land currently leased to UAMC and $500 million within five years to expand and renovate the medical center, and build new facilities as appropriate, such as a major, multi-specialty outpatient center to be constructed in Tucson
• Create a $300 million endowment which will provide a $20 million per year revenue stream to advance the UA’s clinical and translational research mission
• Preserve historic funding levels between the clinical and academic partners in addition to a $20 million per year enhancement.
• Allow additional funding support based on growth in revenues generated by the clinical and academic partnership.
• Improve operational efficiencies
• Secure and sustain a lasting relationship with, and commitment to, the University of Arizona, anchored by an Academic Division within Banner. The Academic Medical Centers: The University of Arizona Medical Center – University and South Campuses and Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center and the faculty practice plan, will support the growing needs of the Colleges of Medicine in Phoenix and Tucson and create a value-based delivery system;
• The Phoenix and Tucson academic medical centers will be infused with operational strength through the proposed transition and rapidly evolve into major economic drivers that will attract highly skilled, trained and paid professionals, elevating Arizona as a bioscience destination;
• Train more physician specialists and allied health professionals, including pharmacists and advanced practice nurses for Arizona;
• Provide a comprehensive platform for the development of physician-scientists who will drive discovery across basic science studies, patient-oriented clinical research, health services research, and population health;
• Enhance and elevate academic medical excellence across Arizona to national leadership levels; and
• Secure and sustain an operational foundation for the Colleges of Medicine in Tucson and Phoenix that will maximize the value of the ongoing state funding received annually through legislative appropriations.

“When these respected organizations unite, the potential for delivering top-tier academic medicine throughout the state, recognized nationally, becomes a reality,” said Steve Lynn, UAHN Chairman of the Board.

Added Michael Waldrum, M.D., UAHN President and CEO, “I’m especially pleased that this proposed transition will infuse stability and energy into our organization. This will benefit our patients, faculty, staff and students as we pursue excellence. Ultimately, we’re moving from a situation in which we can only maintain status quo, to a situation in which we can create a premier Academic Medical Center.”

This proposed transition is occurring amidst a period of profound transformation in health care that is driving organizations to adopt innovative ways to not only improve health care with a strong emphasis on wellness, but to do it at a lower cost.

“With health care here in Arizona and across the nation facing new challenges and opportunities every day, this agreement will allow the Arizona Health Sciences Center and the entire UA to advance our mission to provide education, conduct research and enhance patient care that will transform health care at the state and national level,” said Ann Weaver Hart, President of the University of Arizona. “Combining the world-class care at UAHN and Banner will better meet the needs of patients in Arizona and throughout the region, while also providing tremendous learning experiences for students at the University of Arizona. By forming this collaboration we will accomplish more for Arizona’s residents and for the advancement of medical knowledge and practice than we could do in isolation.”

The University of Arizona Colleges of Medicine and Banner Health have a long history of successful affiliation through the Graduate Medical Education program at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix. Each year, Banner and the UA Colleges of Medicine collaborate in the training of nearly 260 physicians in five residency programs and in numerous fellowships.

Added Peter S. Fine, President and CEO of Banner, “We’re honored that the UAHN Board of Directors strategically sought Banner to create Arizona’s first statewide health system to help strengthen medical education. Banner’s vision is to sustain a position of national leadership. This opportunity to join with a premier academic organization significantly advances Banner towards this vision. In addition, we’re especially mindful of UAHN’s legacy of excellence in Tucson and throughout the state, which must be maintained, nourished and strengthened.”

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Record number of physician residents at Banner Good Sam

A historic number of doctors are being trained now for the future of medicine at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center. There are 291 doctors training in Banner Good Samaritan’s eight medical residency and nine fellowship programs for the 2014-2015 academic training year as part of the hospital’s Graduate Medical Education (GME) program which is accredited by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education.

“Training these physicians is an important investment in the quality health care for all Arizonans,” said Steve Narang, MD, Chief Executive Officer at Banner Good Samaritan. “Doctors are more inclined to practice medicine near to where they trained, so we’re obviously very pleased by the number of physicians who are training at Banner Good Samaritan.”

The GME program at Banner Good Samaritan is affiliated with the University of Arizona College of Medicine (UA-COM) and has been training physicians over the past 60 years. Recently, Banner and the University of Arizona Health Network (UAHN) in Tucson signed a Principles of Agreement document that is anticipated to lead to UAHN joining Banner Health and a 30 year affiliation commitment from Banner Health to support the UA-COMs in Tucson and Phoenix.

This affiliation will include the operation of academic medical centers connected to the COMs in both cities. Banner Good Samaritan will be established as the academic medical center in Phoenix, and UAHN – University and South campuses will continue serving in that role for the COM in Tucson. Third and Fourth year COM students in Tucson and Phoenix will rotate into clinical areas in Banner Health affiliated academic medical centers.

Much like the evolution of health care, the advancements in medical education are astounding, Narang said, adding that thanks to technology, today’s physician residents and fellows have a wealth of health information and training resources at their fingertips. From smartphones to simulation education, the digital age has transformed medical teaching, he added.

“While technology has most certainly changed the ways in which residents are taught, the core principles, values and standards that define academic medicine at Banner Good Samaritan remain constant,” Narang said. “Banner Good Samaritan’s superior teaching stems from the commitment by physician educators to the highest standards of patient safety and quality throughout the teaching process.”

Following is the list of Residency and Fellowship programs at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center:

Residency Programs:
· Family Medicine
· Internal Medicine
· Internal Medicine/Pediatrics
· Obstetrics & Gynecology
· Oral Maxillofacial Surgery
· Orthopedic Surgery
· Psychiatry
· Surgery

Fellowship Programs:
· Cardiology
· Interventional Cardiology
· Structural Cardiology
· Endocrinology
· Gastroenterology
· Geriatric Medicine
· Medical Toxicology
· Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine
· Sports Medicine

Waldrum

University of Arizona Health Network gets new CEO

The largest healthcare entity in southern Arizona has named a new chief executive officer.

The University of Arizona Health Network says Dr. Michael R. Waldrum will start work on Jan. 27.

Waldrum is currently CEO of the University of Alabama Hospital at Birmingham and vice president of the UAB Health System.

The UofA Health Network includes two hospitals, clinics, health plans and a physician practice plan.