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MERGERS: How to merge teaching hospitals successfully

Insights drawn from the mergers of teaching hospitals that resulted in the creation of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, Partners Healthcare (Boston), and New York-Presbyterian Hospital are discussed in this perspective article by three leading physicians who were involved.  They note that there was an initial wave of academic medical center merger discussions from 1993 to 1998 — and that interest is rising again today.  The success factors are categorized as follows:

  • “Leadership and trust” (Who will be in charge?  What will be their roles?  Will there be a holding company?  A single board with fiduciary responsibilities?  Do the trustees display vision and commitment to the merger?)
  • “Managing uncertainty” (Is there clarity and transparency of purpose?)
  • “Medical staff stability” (Typically the most volatile of issues.)
  • “Bridging culture” (Is there respect among the legacy organizations?  How similar is the management style and governance heritage?  How quickly will the integration be able to occur?

Source: Thier, S.O., Kelley, W.N., and others.  Success factors in merging teaching hospitals.  Academic Medicine;89(2):219-223, Feb. 2014.  Click here to access publisher’s website: http://journals.lww.com/academicmedicine/Abstract/2014/02000/Success_Factors_in_Merging_Teaching_Hospitals.13.aspx 

Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

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