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May 24, 2011
09:40 AM
The Daily Scoop

UNC Health Systems Makes Case for Management Agreement with Pardee

UNC Health Systems CEO Gary Park (right) addresses a joint meeting of the Pardee Board of Directors and the Henderson County Commissioners Tuesday morning at the Historic Henderson County Courthouse.

UNC Health Systems CEO Gary Park (right) addresses a joint meeting of the Pardee Board of Directors and the Henderson County Commissioners Tuesday morning at the Historic Henderson County Courthouse.

Hendersonville Scoop

WHAT HAPPENED? Representatives of UNC Health Care Systems told both Pardee Hospital’s Board of Directors and the Henderson County Board of Commissioners about what they could bring to a proposed management agreement between their organization and the Hendersonville health care facility.

WHY DO YOU CARE?  If the management agreement is approved, it could result in increased cost savings and better overall care for patients at the county-owned hospital. Also, it would add another larger player to the health care industry of Western North Carolina where Park Ridge Hospital in Fletcher and Mission Hospitals in Asheville are already present.

HOW DID IT GO DOWN? For 75 minutes Tuesday morning, management of the Chapel Hill-based not-for-profit, integrated health care system made their case.
 “Pardee has great services and is well-respected in Western North Carolina,” said UNC Health Systems CEO William Park. “We have much in common and we bring scale to the relationship. Health care is changing and its changing quickly. Pardee has a strong balance sheet, but the future of small independent hospitals is at risk.”
Pardee has recently been in talks with Mission Hospitals about opening a 130,000-square-foot outpatient facility on the Henderson/Buncombe county line and that was something that intrigued the people from UNC.
“Clearly, we think that’s an important venture for Pardee because they have lost some market share and if you want to provide indigent care in growing markets, you have to attract more revenue,” Park said. “We want that business to stay in Henderson County and make sure Pardee gets its share of that business.”
Of particular note during the presentation was UNC’s assertion that it could improve Pardee’s offerings in the fields of comprehensive cancer care (through the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the NC Cancer Hospital), spine and orthopedic care (through the work of the UNC Imaging and Spine Center) and the positive aging program (through the UNC Center for Aging and Health).
“We have the contracts and relationships to give you speed, cost savings and implementation to improve overall patient care,” said UNC Health Care System’s Chief Financial Officer John Lewis said. “The reality is scale and speed matter and we can bring you substantial savings. We are not here to force these things upon you or make you choose these options. We just want to offer them because we want to meet the community’s needs while assisting in your financial stability.”
After the presentation was done, both boards went into closed session to further discuss what they had heard.
“The biggest thing I took out of it was that there are some cost effective and improved purchasing opportunities on the table,” said Commissioner Larry Young. “What I want to know more about is about the possibility of Mission and Pardee working together in Fletcher and that being a profit making venture.”
WHAT’S NEXT? The chairs of both boards stressed that no decision on the potential management agreement would be made Tuesday, but the matter will come before Pardee’s Board of Directors at their May 25th meeting.
Correspondent Jonathan Rich may be contacted at jonathan@hvillescoop.com.

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