An agreement between the Deaconess Health System Board of Directors and Methodist Health Board of Directors was signed today, and the medical staff and employees of both organizations were notified this morning.
“This is a historic day for Methodist Health, for Deaconess, and for the communities in Henderson, Union and Webster Counties,” said Linda E. White, Methodist Health CEO. “A new direction and management for Methodist Health is needed for the future of health care in the communities we serve, and Deaconess is the best choice for providing local direction and quality care.”
“At the time of our affiliation, the goal was to keep quality health care local, with local-decision making and a local focus. That will not change,” said White. “However, Methodist Health has been unable to turn around our financial situation, and expenses have exceeded revenues. In this current fiscal year, Methodist Health has lost $8 million. While this situation is not unique—as many small hospitals are struggling—it is also not sustainable.”
Both Methodist Health Hospitals in Henderson and Union Counties, as well as outpatient clinics and facilities, will join Deaconess Health System on July 1.
In the coming months, Deaconess leadership and clinical staff will collaborate with Methodist Health employees, building on improvements that have taken place in recent months. Deaconess patient care protocols will be implemented, and Methodist Health employees will be optimizing the use of Epic, the organizations’ shared electronic medical record, leading to improvements in quality, cost and billing.
White continued, “Methodist Health patients will be able to keep their current doctors, and we will continue to accept the same insurance plans. We also anticipate growing and expanding services, particularly specialty services such as cardiology, urology, oncology, GI care and pain management, so patients in Kentucky will have to cross the bridges less often to receive quality services.”
Beginning immediately, an integration steering team of representatives from both Methodist Health and Deaconess will oversee the transition. As previously released in January, Deaconess will manage the Emergency Department at Methodist Health in Henderson by the end of February.
“We look forward to re-investing in not only Methodist Health facilities and employees, but also the Henderson and Union County communities,” said Shawn McCoy, CEO, Deaconess. “We are evaluating the greatest needs as indicated by health assessments, employer input and community feedback, and will earmark community benefit and sponsorship dollars to be used in meaningful ways to better the health of the communities we serve.”
Specific websites, www.deaconess.com/henderson
, have been created and will include information for employees, patients and the community as details become available.