Three community-based, not-for-profit health systems on the coast of north
Florida and south Georgia today confirmed that they have signed an initial
letter of intent to explore opportunities to collaborate. While the specifics
of affiliation are yet to be defined, it is clear that it will not be
a merger or acquisition.
This announcement comes shortly after the systems' boards concluded
that there would be value in exploring strategies to work more closely
together in a changing marketplace. One model under consideration is the
creation of a contiguous health network spanning from Brunswick to Jacksonvilleto
A key principle stated in the letter of intent is the preservation of strong
local governance, community mission, and operating structures of each
system. Any collaborative model considered wouldn't affect current
licenses, and the participating systems would retain their current names
-- in other words, no system would come under the branding of the other.
"Our systems serve contiguous geographic areas yet operate in distinct
markets. We see this as an opportunity to protect and strengthen what
we've each always done, while positioning ourselves to thrive in the
future as a network of community-based, locally governed organizations.
That community focus is our common core," said A. Hugh Greene, president
and CEOof Baptist Health of Northeast Florida.
The systems expect for it to take several months to explore and refine
the nature of their affiliation. At the top of their agendas is reassuring
their respective employees and medical staffs that they will continue
to function as they do now, under their current structures, policies and
The systems indicated have a history of mutual support and cooperation
and believe they have more to learn from one another. "Since its
founding in 1889, FlaglerHospital has worked in cooperation with community
leaders, area physicians and regional healthcare providers to ensure the
highest level of care for our patients. Today, we look forward to further
exploring ways this new coastal collaboration could benefit our patients,
staff, local employers and our community through the sharing of best practices
and achieving efficiencies that come with added scale," said Flagler
Hospital President and CEO Joe Gordy.
"We are three healthy organizations and that puts us in an enviable
position," said Gary R. Colberg, FACHE, president and CEO, Southeast
Georgia Health System. "We are each coming from a place of strength
and focusing on sustaining our community-based models for the long term.
We don't know the details of our future collaboration yet, but those
will become clearer as we work through the exciting possibilities before us."