Dan Slipkovich, left, CEO of Capella Healthcare, and Dr. Mike Schatzlein, CEO of Saint Thomas Health, sign their landmark partnership agreement on Monday.
Capella Healthcare and Saint Thomas Health have finalized an innovative venture that will improve healthcare throughout Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky, officials announced Monday at a news conference held at Capella’s corporate office.
Based in Nashville, Saint Thomas Health includes five hospitals affiliated with Ascension Health Ministry, the largest Catholic system and the largest non-profit in the United States. Capella Healthcare, based in Franklin, operates 13 hospitals in seven states, including five in Tennessee.
Effective May 1, the partnership results in the joint ownership and operation of Capella’s four Middle Tennessee hospitals and potentially additional healthcare facilities in a 60-county area of Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky.
Capella hospitals included in the joint venture are River Park Hospital in McMinnville, White County Community Hospital in Sparta, DeKalb Community Hospital in Smithville and Stones River Hospital in Woodbury, all in Tennessee. These hospitals will operate as part of the Saint Thomas Health Network, which will hold an equity interest. In addition, Saint Thomas Health will become the tertiary care partner for the hospitals within the new venture.
“This is a landmark partnership for us and the communities we serve,” said Mike Schatzlein, M.D. Saint Thomas Health president and chief executive officer. “Our partnership with Capella Healthcare and their Middle Tennessee hospitals will expand services in the communities we both serve. We look forward to working collaboratively to enhance support for the expansion of cardiac, neurosciences and other specialty services, as well as on strategies for the use of innovative technology and clinical integration.”
Capella is the managing member and the majority partner in the new venture, and under the agreement, Capella will be the exclusive development partner for Saint Thomas Health across Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky.
Capella Healthcare CEO Dan Slipkovich stated, “Partnering with Saint Thomas Health, which is nationally recognized for its quality of care and innovative strategy, positions our Middle Tennessee hospitals for greater success as we expand services. This venture also provides a significant opportunity for Capella and Saint Thomas Health to jointly partner with additional hospitals that recognize the value of these kinds of partnerships, especially as accountable care and health reform continue to evolve. Our two organizations share a commitment to providing the highest quality of care for the individuals and communities we serve, and look forward to leveraging our strengths to expand our services.”
Mark Medley is President of Hospital Operations for Capella Healthcare: “Our focus moving forward is to collaborate in expanding and enhancing the care that’s available in middle Tennessee at the four hospitals who are now part of this new partnership. For one facility, our expansion of services means a name change and a million dollar investment to renovate the facility.
On Tuesday, May 1, White County Community Hospital becomes Highlands Medical Center and we launch a construction project that will renovate the interior and exterior of the facility, with a primary focus on all patient care areas. The new name and renovation project will enable the staff to better serve its growing patient base as well as better reflect the broadening population it is serving and anticipated growth in services.”
Additional benefits of the partnership include:
• A new standard of quality and service. Helping to lead the way will be Dr. Bill Thompson, Chief Quality Officer for Saint Thomas Health, who will play a key role.
• Enhanced cardiac care: A new investment in expanded cardiac service lines at all four hospitals. While River Park Hospital already has a nationally accredited Chest Pain Center, development of similar recognized centers at the other three hospitals will be a priority, as well as dedicated cardiologist coverage.
• A new system, working together. A re-branding of the four facilities to reflect the new partnership will launch on May 1 with special celebrations at each hospital.