Q&A

About the Partnership

Why have Greenville Health System and Palmetto Health formed a new health company?

Our patients have asked for better clinical outcomes and initiatives to address rising health care costs. The new health company is essential to our ability to deliver on this request. With continued reimbursement cuts, likely to occur in both the Medicare and Medicaid programs, health systems must take a leading role in accepting financial responsibility for the care they provide. The days of simply passing on cost increases are ending. We must address the underlying drivers of these cost increases. We intend for our new health company to be a model for how private, not-for-profit health systems can effectively compete and bring value to the communities served.

 

The new health company has the size and resources required to address the serious health issues of those we serve. South Carolina has one of the highest rates of obesity, diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular and pulmonary disease in the country. The severe impacts of poor health and health disparities in our state are simply not sustainable. Our partnership gives us a unique opportunity to make positive changes over time. Together, we will reach more patients, make South Carolina healthier, attract new team members, spur economic development, offer new and broader services to our patients and address rising health care costs.

How will the new health company increase access and improve quality?

Increasing access and improving quality in health care, today and in the future, requires scale, scope and resources. Together, we can enhance patient access to needed local health services in both rural and urban parts of South Carolina that currently are underserved. Importantly, we are committed to caring for people regardless of their ability to pay. Over time, we will drive clinical quality through our enhanced ability to:

  • Provide the number and quality of clinical services only possible with the scale of an integrated system covering the Midlands and Upstate.
  • Attract and retain top clinical talent who are seeking innovative and progressive organizations that can provide the patient base, technology, resources and innovation they are seeking.
  • Enhance the development of products and services that insurers, managed care organizations and employers are looking for in health care coverage.
  • Leverage investments in cutting-edge technology.
  • Add resources focused on research and development.
  • Invest in tools and strategies to lower administrative burdens for physicians and nurses, allowing more time to provide even more direct patient care.
  • Attract outside organizations focused on clinical research and development initiatives, including new drug and device trials that will benefit our patient populations.

What will the new company be able to accomplish that GHS and Palmetto Health could not on their own?

Much can be accomplished when we work together. We have a long history of collaboration through projects like our Baptist Easley Hospital joint venture; Care Coordination Institute; Initiant, a multi-hospital cost-savings collaborative; as well as a strong foundation of shared cultural and mission-driven commitments. As one company, we have the unique opportunity to shape and lead the future of health care in our state by bringing together the best from both organizations. Together, we are the largest health system in the state and one of the 50 largest in the country. We have the scale and scope to invest up to $1 billion additional dollars over the next five years in the Midlands and Upstate. This investment will be used for health programs, technology, facilities and team members, which will improve the health of our patients and communities. Over time, we will be able to accelerate our investments in solutions to make our residents healthier, while also addressing rising health care costs. It’s a bold vision we can make a reality.

Have Greenville Health System and Palmetto Health merged?

GHS and Palmetto Health have created a new health company, which is now the parent organization of both GHS and Palmetto Health. Patients will continue to be patients of GHS or Palmetto Health. In a merger, one entity becomes part of the other entity, which is not the form of this transaction.

For South Carolina

What is changing?

While patients and team members will not see much in the way of immediate change, over time we have the opportunity to make positive changes as we work to reach more patients, make South Carolina healthier, spur economic development, offer new and broader services to our patients and address the rising cost of care.

 

From a governance perspective, our new organization is led by one board of directors and one executive team. Our new board consists of directors from boards currently affiliated with GHS and Palmetto Health. Charles D. Beaman, Jr. and Michael C. Riordan, who previously led Palmetto Health and GHS, respectively, will serve as co-CEOs of the new company and share leadership responsibilities.

Will medical staffs merge? What about clinically integrated networks (CINs)?

Nothing changes for patients or medical staffs today. This partnership does not change the patient-provider relationship, and it is intended to enhance it over time.

 

We are not merging our medical staffs or clinically integrated networks. GHS and Palmetto Health will retain local control of their provider groups, and will continue to be responsible for their own credentialing, privileging and oversight of clinical quality. We also will continue to enhance the collaborative activities between the Midlands and Upstate affiliates that improve clinical quality, the patient experience and health care value.

What happens to local charity and community support commitments?

The new health company will honor existing local charity and community support commitments. Just as GHS and Palmetto Health always have, the new company will review these on a case-by-case basis and measure them against available resources.

 

We are committed to caring for people regardless of their ability to pay. We are already leading providers of uncompensated and charity care in South Carolina, with hundreds of millions of dollars committed per year to charity care.

How will the new health company ensure the broadly diverse population in our state has a voice and is adequately represented?

We have diverse and renowned South Carolina business, medical and community leaders on our board who are committed to improving the health and well-being of South Carolinians.

Will the names of our hospitals, brands or other parts of our health care system change?

We are working to create a brand for our new company that will build on the strong foundations that GHS and Palmetto Health have in communities we serve, and reflects the goals of the new company. We will share this information in the coming months.

Will any services be impacted?

Nothing changes today. Most importantly, the patient-provider relationship will not change. Over time, we hope to enhance our current services to reach more patients. In a dynamic field like health care, change is constant.

Will any facilities close or be repurposed?

Nothing changes today and there are no plans to close or repurpose facilities. Change is constant in a dynamic field like health care. Any such decision will be the responsibility of the new health company’s board of directors.

What will happen to the Greenville Health System and Palmetto Health relationships with academic partners?

All commitments made by Greenville Health System and Palmetto Health to their academic partners remain.  Today, we have several academic partnerships, including affiliations with two medical schools and a college of nursing, dedicated to teaching the next generation of caregivers, 70% of whom stay in South Carolina after graduation. We will further enhance our numerous academic and educational programs as we continue to develop these skilled caregivers. This will ensure we have the physicians and other caregivers needed to meet the health care needs of our patients and communities well into the future.

Next Steps

What are the next steps?

In the coming weeks and months, we will announce the senior leadership team of the new company. We will continue exploring opportunities to improve patient care and team member experiences. We also will introduce our new brand. Moving forward, we will continue to share updates about our progress.

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