Integration of an academic medical center and a community hospital: the Brigham and Women's/Faulkner hospital experience.
Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), a major academic tertiary medical center, and Faulkner Hospital (Faulkner), a nearby community teaching hospital, both in the Boston, Massachusetts area, have established a close affiliation relationship under a common corporate parent that achieves a variety of synergistic benefits. Formed under the pressures of limited capacity at BWH and excess capacity at Faulkner, and the need for lower-cost clinical space in an era of provider risk-sharing, BWH and Faulkner entered into a comprehensive affiliation agreement. Over the past seven years, the relationship has enhanced overall volume, broadened training programs, lowered the cost of resources for secondary care, and improved financial performance for both institutions. The lessons of this relationship, both in terms of success factors and ongoing challenges for the hospitals, medical staffs, and a large multispecialty referring physician group, are reviewed. The key factors for success of the relationship have been integration of training programs and some clinical services, provision of complementary clinical capabilities, geographic proximity, clear role definition of each institution, commitment and flexibility of leadership and medical staff, active and responsive communication, and the support of a large referring physician group that embraced the affiliation concept. Principal challenges have been maintaining the community hospital's cost structure, addressing cultural differences, avoiding competition among professional staff, anticipating the pace of patient migration, choosing a name for the new affiliation, and adapting to a changing payer environment.
Sussman, AJ; Otten, JR; Goldszer, RC; Hanson, M; Trull, DJ; Paulus, K; Brown, M; Dzau, V; Brennan, TA
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