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Partnership not a good fit for OSF St. Francis

August 6, 2012
By Peter G. Jennings , Daily Press

ESCANABA - A recent edition of the Daily Press (July 31, 2012), included an article about Superior Health Partners. The article listed several Upper Peninsula hospitals that are apparently considering joining, and ended with a statement that OSF St. Francis Hospital has been asked to join but has not responded.

OSF has, in fact, responded to requests to join this effort on several occasions; on each occasion the response has been "no, thank you." The reason is that the benefits to our hospital and medical group do not justify the costs - both tangible and intangible - to participate.

OSF St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group is part of OSF Healthcare System, owned and operated by the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis and based in Peoria, Ill. OSF Healthcare System consists of eight hospitals and medical centers, one long-term care facility and two colleges of nursing, with approximately 14,000 employees. Additionally, OSF Medical Group is a primary care physician network consisting of more than 600 primary care, specialist physicians and advanced practice providers, with clinical service lines in cardiac services, neurosciences and pediatrics. OSF HealthCare owns an extensive network of home health services known as OSF Home Care Services and also owns OSF Saint Francis, Inc., comprised of healthcare-related businesses, and OSF Healthcare Foundation, the philanthropic arm for OSF Healthcare System and OSF Home Care Services.

Article Photos

Peter G. Jennings

The resources afforded OSF St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group through OSF HealthCare are far greater than a local partnership can offer. These resources have enabled us to invest in a strong primary care physician presence, as well as sophisticated electronic and digital technologies for enhanced treatment capabilities. A new state-of-the-art Epic electronic medical record (EMR) system was implemented in September 2011. This is the same EMR that Johns Hopkins Medicine recently announced it will implement across all of its facilities in 2013.

Enhanced computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) capabilities have been added, along with CT angiography and a Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS) for cardiac diagnostic services. Palliative care services were expanded and hospitalist services were added.

Through OSF Healthcare System, we also have significant purchasing power and access to opportunities for enhanced patient safety and quality efforts that far exceed the capabilities of a local partnership. We have offered Marquette General Hospital opportunities to become an affiliate of OSF HealthCare, thus also benefiting from these cost-savings and enhanced quality and safety initiatives. Marquette has declined our offers.

In order for a partnership to work, it must benefit all parties equally. The partnership proposed by MGH does not benefit our hospital or our community.

We are very much in favor of enhanced relationships among all caregivers serving the U.P. Residents of the U.P. need a strong regional care facility. They also need strong community hospitals. Our recent transition to critical access hospital (CAH) status will provide significantly greater reimbursement and help us prepare for a more stable economic future. We will be able to sustain our mission, expand outpatient services, ensure continued access to high quality care, protect good jobs and continue to support the local economy with an appropriate mix and level of services to meet the community's needs.

We will continue to advocate opportunities to work with other U.P. and regional care facilities to the benefit of all involved.

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Peter G. Jennings is president and CEO of OSF St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group



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