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All Children's Hospital to join forces with Johns Hopkins health system

All Children’s Hospital will join the Johns Hopkins Health System to expand research and training opportunities.


All Children’s Hospital will join the Johns Hopkins Health System to expand research and training opportunities.

ST. PETERSBURG — All Children's Hospital, an 83-year-old community institution, is joining one of the most prestigious national names in health care in an effort to expand research and doctor-training opportunities in the Tampa Bay area.

In a deal announced Tuesday, All Children's in St. Petersburg will become part of Baltimore's Johns Hopkins Health System through an arrangement expected to be finalized by year end.

The unique agreement between the two nonprofit health organizations is a first for both. It also will be the first expansion beyond Maryland for Johns Hopkins, whose medical faculty has won 20 Nobel Prizes and whose namesake hospital has been rated tops in the nation for the past 20 years.

No money is changing hands, and Florida residents will remain a majority on All Children's governing board, ensuring local control, hospital officials said.

Leadership, staffing and day-to-day operations of the hospital will remain unchanged. So will the institution's name, though a tagline will added: "a member of Johns Hopkins Medicine."

All money raised locally for All Children's, long a popular cause among area philanthropists, will remain in the Tampa Bay area.

Meanwhile, All Children's, which gets 70 percent of its revenue from Medicaid, gains a powerful ally at a time when government reimbursements are being cut, and health care is in flux. Though All Children's typically posts a surplus, its operating income has been under pressure recently from costs involved with its new $400 million facility, which opened earlier this year.

Johns Hopkins, which has four hospitals, four surgery centers and 25 outpatient sites, is a $5 billion system. Under the agreement, Johns Hopkins will assume ultimate financial responsibility for All Children's, which had about $500 million in assets as of Sept. 30, 2008, the most recent financial filing.

Gary Carnes, president and chief executive of All Children's Health System since 2001, said it was not immediate financial pressures but rather a long-term perspective that led to the union.

"I'm convinced that no matter what happens in health care, we're better together than alone," he said. "We will be jointly raising the bar to provide the highest level of health care."

Steven Thompson, a senior vice president at Johns Hopkins Medicine, praised All Children's patient services but said it was lacking a strong educational and research component.

"It has been a long-standing objective of All Children's to become an academic children's hospital. That's the business Hopkins is in," Thompson said. "As we got to know each other better, it was clear there were great opportunities."

Officials added that the move gives Johns Hopkins a presence in Florida, a "potentially important new market … not only for patients in the region but also for Central and South America and the Caribbean."

The partnership will be launched with Dr. Jonathan Ellen joining All Children's as head of a new Johns Hopkins pediatrics department based in St. Petersburg. He will develop the residency and fellowship programs that will bring graduates of Johns Hopkins' medical school to train at All Children's starting in 2013.

Ellen also will help develop an expanded research program at All Children's, tapping on Johns Hopkins' expertise with clinical studies. The Baltimore institution has long been the biggest recipient of National Institutes of Health grants, pulling in $435 million last year.

"New discoveries actually happen quicker at academic hospitals," said Thompson, adding that All Children's patients and their families will have faster access to new and innovative treatments.

Though All Children's has existing doctor-training and research activities with the University of South Florida, Carnes said he did not expect any overlap between the programs.

"This is nothing against USF," said Carnes, who estimated there are the equivalent of 50 full-time USF residents at All Children's per year. "We were just trying to expand what we do."

USF spokesman Michael Hoad said the alliance "does not affect our educational affiliation."

"USF doesn't have a hospital and couldn't offer a hospital system affiliation (to All Children's)," Hoad said. "So there's nothing that the university or College of Medicine could offer to a hospital that's looking at its future during national changes in hospital finances. Bottom line: The era of independent hospitals is shifting dramatically."

Hoad said the union would help All Children's by allowing it to buy supplies, share back-office services and do joint insurance contracting through Johns Hopkins.

All Children's saw its operating income cut in half, to about $6.7 million, for the six months ending March 31, compared with the same period a year earlier. Carnes said this was mostly due to costs associated with the new hospital, including 200 new employees. Carnes said the hospital was ahead of where it expected to be financially, and inpatient admissions were up over a year ago.

While a handful of Johns Hopkins faculty and administrators will eventually work at All Children's, there won't be widespread exchange of either patients or physicians. Stressing that the focus of the collaboration will be on research and training, Carnes said, "Johns Hopkins was very impressed with our clinical program. There are very few things we are not able to do here."

Carnes and Arnie Stenberg Jr., All Children's chief administrative officer, first approached Johns Hopkins' administrators about three years ago to discuss a possible affiliation. Conversations steadily gained momentum, with executives taking turns flying to Baltimore or St. Petersburg. Johns Hopkins' officials were among the first to visit All Children's new hospital when it opened in January.

About six months ago, board members and senior managers exchanged visits and deemed the partnership idea, "very enticing," Carnes said.

Said Claudia Sokolowski, chairwoman of All Children's Health System board, "These people want to help us move health care into the next century. Who wouldn't be excited?"

All Children's hospital board will have four representatives from Johns Hopkins, but at least 75 percent of trustees will be local residents, with at least two from Pinellas County.

The board that oversees All Children's foundation, its fundraising arm, will be unchanged, but one Johns Hopkins' representative will be added.

Two All Children's representatives will join the 45-member Johns Hopkins Medicine board.

The agreement, which does not require state or federal government approval, was widely applauded.

Peter Young, a hospital consultant in Fort Myers, said All Children's, one of only two freestanding children's hospitals in the state, needs backing as it faces future Medicaid cuts.

"There's no question the Johns Hopkins brand is very powerful," he said. "It will attract a patient base.

"It's a tremendous opportunity for top-level institutions, and clearly Johns Hopkins is at the pinnacle nationwide and All Children's is at the pinnacle in Florida."

"It's huge," Mayor Bill Foster said. "It further puts St. Pete down on this international map for being a health care provider for children."

Times staff writers Richard Danielson and Letitia Stein and researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report.

Dear Colleagues:

We are delighted to announce today plans to integrate All Children's Hospital (ACH) into the Johns Hopkins Health System. ACH is a 259-bed freestanding children's hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Johns Hopkins Medicine and All Children's Hospital & Health System will publicly announce later today that they have signed an integration letter of intent (LOI). When completed, ACH will join the Johns Hopkins Health System as a fully integrated member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. We anticipate ACH will join JHM sometime late in 2010 after appropriate due diligence is completed.

This is a non-cash transaction – no money is changing hands. ACH sought a highly regarded academic medical institution to strengthen its medical education and research programs. Leadership and the day-to-day operation of ACH and its outreach facilities in eight west Florida counties are not expected to change and ACH will retain its name.

Details still need to be ironed out, but the plan calls for ACH to retain its voluntary medical staff and physician organizations, including University of South Florida physicians practicing at ACH. ACH will be operated in the same manner as Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and Suburban Hospital.

We have a long tradition of excellence in the training of future pediatric leaders, clinicians, teachers, and scientists. ACH will not only help us continue that tradition, it will allow us to expand our role as a leader in medical discoveries that improve the health of children. Not only will we be able to expand our research initiatives here but we can also increase NIH and other research opportunities on the St. Petersburg campus of ACH. Overall, it means more education, research and clinical opportunities for our pediatric faculty.

ACH has a new, million-square-foot medical complex in St. Petersburg comprised of the ten-story All Children's Hospital and adjacent Outpatient Care Center (dedicated in January 2010). It is the only hospital on Florida's West Coast totally devoted to children's care. All Children's draws patients from throughout Florida, all 50 states and 36 foreign countries.

It offers heart transplantation, blood & marrow transplantation, and pediatric trauma services and has one of the largest Neonatal Intensive Care programs in the Southeastern U.S. The billion-dollar All Children's Health System has more than 2,800 employees on its main campus and ten outreach centers located throughout west central Florida. Its patient mix is 70% Medicaid and it provides $30.9 million in unfunded community benefit, the majority of which are the costs of charity and unreimbursed indigent care.

Jonathan Ellen, M.D., will serve as the interim Pediatrician-In Chief and Vice Dean for the ACH campus for the next 18 months.

We are so excited that ACH has chosen to become part of the JHHS. This is an extremely well-run children's hospital. While they sought us out to bolster their academic medical program, we have a lot to learn from them too. We hope you are pleased as we are with this news.

We wanted Children's Center faculty and staff to be among the first to know this news. Right now, this information is confidential but will be released to the rest of the Johns Hopkins community and general public later today. Detailed information will also be posted online later at


George Dover, M.D.
Director, Dept. of Pediatrics
Pediatrician-In –Chief, Johns Hopkins Children's Center

Paul Colombani, M.D.
Director, General Pediatric Surgery
Surgeon-In-Chief, Johns Hopkins Children's Center

Jonathan Ellen, M.D.
Chairman of Pediatrics
Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

Johns Hopkins Health System Memo on Frequently Asked Questions

This was an attachment to a memo to Johns Hopkins personnel sent by Edward D. Miller, CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, and Ronald R. Peterson, president of Johns Hopkins Health System:

Q. Why is Johns Hopkins Medicine integrating with All Children's Hospital?

A. The full integration offers a unique opportunity to both institutions by leveraging All Children's clinical expertise and JHM's academic-based programs in research, teaching and clinical care. With this integration, and as part of its historic mission, JHM can leverage the intellectual and human capital within its pediatrics programs to expand the reach and impact of the current clinical, teaching and research programs. All Children's has robust and high-quality clinical programs, a strong brand presence, a solid financial foundation and a very high-quality hospital leadership team.

Q. Why is JHM acquiring an out-of-state hospital?

A. JHM officials were initially contacted by officials from All Children's about the possibility of aligning itself with a major academic medical center as part of All Children's vision of incorporating the traditional elements of academic medical centers (teaching and research) into its already strong clinical performance. All Children's was seeking a strong academic partner that shared this vision and could assist in bringing it to fruition.

This integration also gives JHM the opportunity to expand the reach and impact of its teaching mission, to explore new models for teaching, and expand the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine residencies and fellowships. In addition, the integration allows the school of medicine to expand both clinical and basic research endeavors in Baltimore and St. Petersburg. It's a clear win-win situation for both institutions.

Q. How does this integration fit into JHM's overall strategic plan?

A. The strategic plan has always been shaped and guided by the overall Johns Hopkins mission — to be the leader in education, research and clinical care as a diverse and inclusive institution. Integration with All Children's, a highly regarded children's hospital of outstanding quality, permits Hopkins to continue its tradition of excellence in the training of future pediatric leaders, clinicians, teachers, and scientists as well as leadership in the discovery, acquisition and application of new medical discoveries that improve the health of children. It also permits JHM to maintain and expand NIH and other research opportunities on the St. Petersburg campus of All Children's using the research facilities already on site there, as well as expanding education, research and clinical opportunities for JHM pediatric physicians. Finally, the integration gives JHM a presence in Florida, a potentially important new market for JHM, not only for patients in the region, but also for Central and South America and the Caribbean.

All Children's Hospital to join forces with Johns Hopkins health system 07/20/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 10:20am]
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