Thursday, November 23, 2017
Health

Tampa General joins with Florida Hospital for new ventures

RECOMMENDED READING


TAMPA — Saying they will be stronger as a team, leaders of Tampa General Hospital and the Florida Hospital system announced Tuesday they are joining forces to develop new health care services around the bay area.

They didn't say exactly what those offerings might be, but emphasized that they are joining only for new ventures, not consolidating existing operations. Each side will contribute $1 million to establish a board that will figure out how they could partner.

Possibilities include a freestanding rehabilitation complex like one Tampa General has for several years considered for Kennedy Boulevard in South Tampa, officials said, or a "big box'' concept with numerous outpatient services provided under one roof, outside of a hospital.

Partnerships and consolidations have grown common as hospitals respond to financial pressures in the rapidly changing health care industry.

But the new partnership is not a traditional merger, hospital leaders stressed Tuesday. By working together, two major hospital players seek to develop new health care models.

Tampa General ''remains independent to serve the community but at the same time it is partnering to better the product that we deliver,'' said David A Straz Jr., chairman of the Florida Health Sciences Center, the governing body for the hospital.

The largest hospital in the region, Tampa General is the primary teaching hospital for the University of South Florida. It is home to one of the nation's busiest organ transplant centers, as well as the region's only Level 1 trauma center and burn unit.

It stands alone on Davis Islands, while the Florida Hospital system locally has hospitals in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas, and is part of the Orlando-based Adventist network.

Mike Schultz, president and CEO of the Florida Hospital Tampa Bay network spoke about the need for hospitals to focus on the community, emphasizing preventive services for all ages.

"We can compete with one another, or we can partner with one another and make this a better place for the citizens of the Tampa Bay area,'' he said.

Both hospitals left open the possibility of others joining the initiative. The venture is a different take on hospital consolidation, which can bring bargaining power to drive down costs while better coordinating care. But mergers also raise concerns of higher costs for patients because hospitals have clout to extract higher rates from insurers.

Just about every independent or small hospital group locally has been touched by this trend.

• The not-for-profit Florida Hospital network has in recent years scooped up the former University Community Health system and opened a new hospital in fast-growing Wesley Chapel.

• Earlier this year, St. Petersburg's nonprofit Bayfront Health merged with the for-profit Health Management Associates hospital chain.

• HCA, the nation's largest for-profit hospital chain, is buying three hospitals owned by IASIS Healthcare — Palms of Pasadena, Memorial of Tampa and Town & Country.

• All Children's Hospital joined the Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Medicine network.

TGH's longtime partner, USF Health, tried to offer an academic alternative in announcing last September that it was creating a new health system with Lakeland Regional Medical Center as its first member. That effort has had little visible movement, and its most energetic backer — former medical school dean Dr. Stephen Klasko — left for a job in Philadelphia.

"Health care is changing enough right now that we'll let that play out," USF president Judy Genshaft said Tuesday, adding that USF's Lakeland focus is on new residency programs.

TGH officials, despite having shown no public interest in joining a USF-led health system, say their future remains closely linked with the university.

On Tuesday, TGH signed a new, three-year medical education affiliation agreement with USF Health. It is an "evergreen contract,'' so that it automatically renews unless one of the parties wants to terminate it.

"We will never again walk to the edge of the cliff,'' said Dr. Harry van Loveren, interim dean of USF's Morsani College of Medicine, referring to the controversy that erupted last fall when the agreement was renewed for only one year, sparking widespread concern.

USF will continue working with HCA to run a new statewide network of trauma centers, a move that was strongly opposed by hospitals with existing trauma units, including TGH. In the new USF-TGH agreement, both parties have renewed a commitment to trying to work together before branching out to others.

With Tampa General and Florida Hospital now aligned, USF leaders expect to benefit.

"USF is really the glue that is going to unify the players in the marketplace," van Loveren said.

Contact Letitia Stein at [email protected], or Jodie Tillman at [email protected]

Comments
Big Tobacco’s anti-smoking ads begin after decade of delay

Big Tobacco’s anti-smoking ads begin after decade of delay

WASHINGTON — Decades after they were banned from the airwaves, Big Tobacco companies return to prime-time television this weekend — but not by choice. Under court order, the tobacco industry for the first time will be forced to advertise the deadly, ...
Published: 11/21/17

Owning dogs may be great for your heart and lower risk of death, study finds

Dog ownership correlates with lower rates of mortality and some fatal diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease, a study published this past week concluded.The study in the journal Scientific Reports found that canine ownership was associated wit...
Published: 11/19/17
New shingles vaccine touted as a breakthrough for older adults

New shingles vaccine touted as a breakthrough for older adults

Medical researchers and government health policymakers, a cautious lot, normally take pains to keep expectations modest when they’re discussing some new finding or treatment.They warn about studies’ limitations. They point out what isn’t known. They ...
Published: 11/17/17
BayCare’s HealthHub breaks ground behind Valrico shopping center

BayCare’s HealthHub breaks ground behind Valrico shopping center

VALRICO — Health care officials broke ground Thursday on the long anticipated HealthHub at Bloomingdale, which will bring about 150 jobs to an area that’s experiencing tremendous growth and provide patients with the latest in technological care.A pro...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/19/17
In Tampa Bay and elsewhere, early numbers show record sign-ups for Obamacare

In Tampa Bay and elsewhere, early numbers show record sign-ups for Obamacare

Despite the budget cuts, the attempts to repeal and replace, and reports of sharp rises in premiums, Floridians and other Americans are signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act at record rates this year.Enrollment has surged 47 p...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Study: Mental quickness exercises can lower risk of dementia

Study: Mental quickness exercises can lower risk of dementia

Where did I leave my keys?As we age, it can take longer to answer a question like that.Humans begin to lose cognitive ability at age 25. Dementia, or the decline of memory most commonly seen in aging adults, takes hold early on and is gradual, but ac...
Published: 11/16/17
Making a list: holiday gift ideas for the water warrior, runner, fit foodie ...

Making a list: holiday gift ideas for the water warrior, runner, fit foodie ...

Given Santa’s legendary girth, one could justifiably question his ability to choose suitable gifts for the fitness-focused folks on his "nice" list. Dasher, Dancer and Prancer (all clearly more inclined to stay active) are always there to offer some ...
Published: 11/22/17
Mayo Clinic Q&A: gangrene causes and prevention; irregular bleeding

Mayo Clinic Q&A: gangrene causes and prevention; irregular bleeding

PEOPLE WITH DIABETES, PERIPHERAL ARTERY DISEASE AT INCREASED RISK OF GANGRENEI have heard that a stubbed toe can lead to gangrene in some individuals. Is that true? What are the signs of gangrene, and how can it be avoided?Gangrene, which refers to t...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/22/17
Blood pressure of 130 is the new ‘high,’ according to update of guidelines

Blood pressure of 130 is the new ‘high,’ according to update of guidelines

The nation’s heart experts tightened the guidelines for high blood pressure Monday, a change that will sharply increase the number of U.S. adults considered hypertensive in the hope that they, and their doctors, will address the deadly condition earl...
Published: 11/13/17
Are Honey Nut Cheerios healthy? A look inside the box

Are Honey Nut Cheerios healthy? A look inside the box

I had a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios recently. It had been awhile. Regular Cheerios are more my thing. But sometimes I finish my box faster than my kids do and find myself straying to their side of the cupboard.Honey Nut is America’s best-selling break...
Published: 11/11/17