Source: The News-Enterprise
The Board of Trustees of Hardin Memorial Health announced it was issuing a Request for Proposals to explore strategic partnership opportunities with interested health care organizations.
I wanted to explain the rationale for this decision and what it means to the 400,000 residents of central Kentucky who depend on HMH for their health care.
First, a bit of background.
Sixty-two years ago, the visionary founders of Hardin Memorial Hospital boldly set out to create a health care center to serve an expanding residential base for decades to come.
Similarly, today, it is the primary responsibility of the Board of Trustees to ensure HMH remains strong and continues to achieve its mission of constantly improving clinical quality, enhancing patient access, managing population health and, most important, helping sustain HMH’s long-term viability so our residents can count on the highest quality of local health care for many years to come.
In late 2017, our long-term management contract with Baptist Health is up for renewal. So now is clearly the right time to begin the process of evaluating our partnership opportunities. That is exactly why we began RFP process last week.
As HMH is in excellent condition and financially strong, we can take our time and review each option closely, whether it be sale, affiliation, merger or another management agreement.
Stated another way, we are negotiating out of strength, not weakness.
And HMH is indeed “strong,” in terms of its operations and financial condition. Over the past five years, our growth has exceeded most Kentucky hospitals.
HMH receives no taxpayers’ money. The system depends solely on revenue from its operations for growth. This growth has not only enhanced our reputation, but also provided us with the financial strength to recruit top physicians and expand and improve medical services.
It is not an overstatement to say HMH never has been in a better position to consider a strong partner to help achieve our goals.
That, in essence, was why we made the decision we announced Tuesday – to keep HMH strong and growing.
What might this partner provide our local system and all those it serves? Here are just a few of our important goals.
Assist us in upgrading our existing, aging facilities to meet rapidly increasing demands.
Help with our growing information technology needs, particularly the integration of electronic medical records to connect patients to physicians and other caregivers.
Support us in continuing to recruit highly competent, experienced physicians and other caregivers to HMH.
Join us in enhancing the development of primary care and medical specialties, so our local communities may confidently receive high quality care right here at home with HMH.
As anyone who has dealt with the new pressures and complications of health insurance knows full well, today’s uncertain health care environment is fraught with challenge. Hospitals and health care systems across America are struggling with steadily increasing costs, declining reimbursements and increased demands from an aging population. And the most far-sighted hospitals are actively seeking alternatives to ensure their communities continue to enjoy first-rate health care into the future.
That is precisely the HMH board’s challenge and fiduciary responsibility as stewards of this important and valuable community asset.
As board chairman, I have great confidence that by the end of this process, we will find a solution that enhances HMH medical competence and capabilities, fortifies HMH’s capital base and ensures the continued local delivery of the highest-quality health care to the residents of central Kentucky for decades to come.
Hardin County Judge-Executive Harry L. Berry also serves as chairman of the Board of Trustees of Hardin Memorial Health. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.