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OLBH, Highlands and St. Claire Form Coalition

OLBH, Highlands Regional Medical Center and St. Claire Regional Medical Center have come together to form the Eastern Kentucky Healthcare Coalition according to officials from the three medical facilities.

The mission of the Eastern Kentucky Healthcare Coalition, as written in the organization’s mission statement, is to “develop a clinically-integrated network of healthcare providers to enhance the health status of our communities in an accountable and responsible manner.” In the coalition, each facility will maintain its autonomy while working together on select projects that provide collective efficiencies for the hospitals (such as vendor contracts), improve patient access (through coordinated health events to provide greater patient access while eliminating duplication of efforts) and prepare for the reforms of the Affordable Care Act in addition to other possibilities for integration.

“The Eastern Kentucky Healthcare Coalition will help to ensure each of our organizations is ready for the future under healthcare reform,” said St. Claire Regional Medical Center President/CEO Mark J. Neff. “This coalition will allow us to form an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) as outlined in the Affordable Care Act.” An ACO is an assembly of coordinated health providers that come together to provide care for a group of patients and that utilize a payment and care delivery model that ties provider reimbursements to both the quality of care and reductions in the total cost of that care. “ACOs reduce the overall cost of healthcare by rewarding quality over quantity,” Neff said.

“The three facilities that have come together to form the Eastern Kentucky Healthcare Coalition have much in common,” said Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital CEO Kevin Halter. “We are not competitors, but we share similarities in size and the populations we serve. That we would come together to work on ways that we might be able to meet the future needs of patients is vital for the overall health of our region.”

“Between the three facilities that form the coalition, our geographic reach encompasses just shy of 700,000 people,” said Highlands Regional Medical Center CEO Bud Warman. “That is a lot of people we can reach and a lot of lives we can impact through this partnership. We can do this while making our facilities more attractive to payers as we enter the post-reform world of healthcare. This coalition strategically aligns us in a way that benefits all three facilities while providing the greatest benefit to the patients of our area.”

Jim Fuzy has been selected to serve as the Eastern Kentucky Healthcare Coalition’s executive director. Fuzy is vice president of Bellefonte Physician Services and is a member of Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital’s administrative team. Fuzy brings coalition experience to his new role having previously served as president and CEO of the Mississippi Health Partners in Jackson, Miss. and as president and CEO of the Cumberland Pediatric Independent Practice Association, aligned with Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, in Nashville, Tenn.

Highlands Regional Medical Center, Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital and St. Claire Regional Medical Center have a combined 529 patient care beds and boasts more than 2,800 employees and nearly 500 physicians.

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