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Strategic partnerships will help KershawHealth’s future

Posted: May 9, 2014 1:47 p.m.
Updated: May 12, 2014 5:00 a.m.

The KershawHealth Strategic Plan approved unanimously by our Board of Trustees presents an ambitious, but achievable, road map for the organization’s future, both short and long term. Essential to the success of the plan is the ability to form multiple strategic partnerships to strengthen existing healthcare services and provide essential capital for adding or expanding facilities.

Today, partnerships can take many forms, and most healthcare systems engage in several different types of these arrangements simultaneously. The goal in all of them, however, is to provide maximum benefit for the organization while still retaining a commitment to our local mission.

The simplest, and most common, type of partnership is a management agreement whereby a company with expertise in a particular area of healthcare takes over day-to-day oversight of part of the healthcare system’s operations. In July, TeamHealth – arguably the premier provider of emergency room physician services in the country – will assume management of KershawHealth’s emergency physician services. TeamHealth will provide physicians, improve infrastructure, and bring best practices from around the country, all with the end goal of bringing effective, efficient, quality care to patients, and creating a seamless, well-integrated service line. TeamHealth has proven this at hospitals across the country for more than three decades. With clear-cut expectations and goals in place, KershawHealth will not only benefit from TeamHealth’s large pool of resources, but will maintain accountability throughout the process.

Many hospitals today are also forming partnerships with nationally-recognized healthcare providers to bring not only name recognition to their programs, but advanced treatment and disease management options to their patients.  These partnerships give both physicians and patients access to a depth of resources not typically available in a community healthcare system. In the future, KershawHealth may well engage in this type of partnership to enhance the care we provide to patients here in Kershaw County.

Joint ventures with physicians or with other organizations are another common partnership, and one that offers great flexibility and opportunity. KershawHealth currently is pursuing a joint venture with local surgeons to build an outpatient surgery center at our Elgin campus. There are many benefits to this arrangement. Not only does it spread the cost of the project among many partners, but it nurtures the relationship between the hospital and our physicians. It also encourages use and expansion of our Elgin campus. Success for one is success for all.

Finally, KershawHealth will consider strategic partnerships with various entities that would involve the entire healthcare system. In the past, this meant that you simply sold the hospital. Today these types of partnerships are much more complex, and are designed to maximize the hospital’s ability to leverage its assets to generate the capital needed to fund necessary services and future growth, and to have access to the expertise essential to survive in the rapidly-changing healthcare environment. The goal is to find a partner that best shares KershawHealth’s mission, vision, and values, while still allowing us to maintain a significant level of local participation and input.

We all know that a single thread can be easily broken, but a rope woven of many threads is strong enough to withstand huge forces. That is what strategic partnerships can do for KershawHealth. Carefully woven, they will create a robust healthcare system that is strong and flexible, and able to thrive today and well into the future.


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