Affinity Health Partners Plans to Purchase Martin General Hospital from Quorum Health

Affinity Health Partners (“Affinity”), a diversified healthcare company based in Plano, Texas, owned and managed by Frank Avignone, announced today its acquisition of the Martin General Hospital in Williamston, North Carolina. The anticipated close date is December 1, 2021. Affinity manages a network of rural critical access hospitals, primary care facilities, and outpatient clinics. Joining this network will increase the continuum of care for its facilities and bring new capabilities as a rural health clinically integrated network in Martin County and surrounding areas.

Intermountain Healthcare, SCL Health to Form $11B System

Intermountain Healthcare and SCL Health signed a letter of intent to merge, the not-for-profit health systems announced Thursday. The combined $11 billion health system would operate 33 hospitals, run 385 clinics and employ 58,000 caregivers across six states. Their service areas do not overlap, and the deal shouldn’t trigger any traditional antitrust concerns around hospital mergers, Intermountain CEO Dr. Marc Harrison said in a conference call with reporters.

University Hospital Board Approves Affiliation with Piedmont, Moves Closer to Merger

University Hospital’s board took a major step toward its merger with Piedmont Healthcare when it approved an affiliation agreement Thursday afternoon. The agreement, after it has been reviewed by the Georgia Attorney General and cleared by the Federal Trade Commission, would result in more than $1 billion of investment by Piedmont into the hospital and Augusta, while retaining the local board and local control, CEO Jim Davis said. Richmond County Hospital Authority approved leasing the hospital and its assets to Piedmont contingent on the deal going through but all of it would remain the property of the county, attorneys said.

UnitedHealth Report: Shifting Common Outpatient Procedures to ASCs Could Yield Significant Savings

Conducting common surgical procedures in ambulatory surgical centers can lead to significant savings for patients and payers, according to a new analysis from UnitedHealth Group researchers. The report finds that shifting outpatient procedures for non-complex, commercially insured people could reduce spending on these services by 59%. The average price for these procedures in the hospital was 144% higher than the price in ASCs, according to the report. Common outpatient procedures in the hospital cost $7,716 on average compared to $3,157 on average in ASCs. That’s a gap of $4,559, the report found.

Premier, 11 Health Systems Acquire Minority Stake in Exela to Lock Down Drug Supply

In a bid to head off drug supply shortages, healthcare improvement company Premier Inc. and 11 of its partner health systems have acquired a minority stake in the holding company of Exela Pharma Sciences, the organizations announced Wednesday. The deal will see Premier’s health system members gain an uninterrupted supply of 19 pharmaceutical products developed and manufactured by the specialty pharma company at its Lenoir, North Carolina, location, according to the announcement. Of note, that includes Exela’s 503B pharmaceutical products and several injectables the companies said are often in short supply.

NorthShore and Edward-Elmhurst Health Announce Merger Plans

Edward-Elmhurst Health and NorthShore University HealthSystem have announced their intention to create a new parent health system and are finalizing plans to merge. The merger is expected to close at the end of 2021, pending regulatory approvals. The combined organization will include 25,000 team members, serve an area with over 4.2 million residents, and bring together the collaborative expertise of more than 6,000 best-in-class physicians through an expansive geographic network of nine hospitals and more than 300 ambulatory facilities throughout the region.

Hospitals Lose Focus on Patients’ Digital Health Preferences amid Growing Competition, Kaufman Hall Says

The COVID-19 pandemic spurred health systems to adopt new technologies and meet the changing needs of their patients, though much of that momentum has stalled in 2021, according to a report out Wednesday from Kaufman Hall. Only 7% of the organizations Kaufman Hall surveyed scored in the first tier of its Healthcare Consumerism Index, defined as best-in-class for delivery system redesign, pricing and digital infrastructure. The vast majority of health systems surveyed either scored in the second or third tier of the index, the report found.

Hospital Telehealth Leveling off at One-Fifth of Medical Appointments, Research Finds

The use of telehealth for patient visits seems to have leveled off at 20% or fewer of all appointments, more than a year and a half after COVID-19 first spurred an unprecedented jump in utilization, according to a new survey from KLAS Research and the Center for Connected Medicine. More than 80% of hospital executive respondents to the survey fielded in May and June this year said one-fifth or fewer of their facility’s appointments were being conducted virtually. Of the hospitals and health systems reporting 30% or more of their volume is virtual, many said they expected that percentage to decline over the long term as the pandemic wanes in the U.S.

Tristar Health Completes Purchase of NorthCrest Health

TriStar Health announces the completion of the purchase of NorthCrest Health in Springfield, TN. The hospital will be renamed TriStar NorthCrest Medical Center, connecting it to TriStar Health, one of the largest and most comprehensive healthcare providers in Middle Tennessee. With the addition of TriStar NorthCrest, the TriStar Health family of hospitals rises to 11 hospitals. TriStar NorthCrest has served Northern Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky since 1956.

Baptist Health, Deaconess Officially Merge

What has been in the planning stages for months became official Wednesday when Baptist Health and the Deaconess Health System joined forces to form Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville. The agreement to jointly operate the 410-bed hospital was signed June 30 after approval from both health system administrative boards. Baptist Health and Deaconess will jointly operate the hospital, Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville Medical Group, home care and hospice, the Foundation, and associated outpatient facilities in Madisonville, Powderly, Dawson Springs, Princeton and Hopkinsville.