Three Health Systems Form Regional Alliance to Enhance Care, Benefit Communities
October 6, 2015 – Collaborating to better serve patients,
Baptist Health, Flagler Hospital and Southeast Georgia Health System have
formed a regional alliance called Coastal Community Health. The three
systems have a history of mutual support and cooperation and believe that
by sharing best practices and achieving efficiencies of scale, they can
deliver superior quality, health and value for their respective communities.
“Our three health systems are strong, stable, and are trying to
achieve similar things – greater efficiency, higher quality, superior
value and better outcomes. We decided collaboration would help us accomplish
more in less time,” said Southeast Georgia Health System President
and Chief Executive Officer Michael D. Scherneck. “We share a passion
for improving health in our communities, and we intend to create a measurable
The three health systems serve separate but contiguous markets spanning
from Brunswick to Jacksonville to St. Augustine and will continue to operate
independently as locally governed, community-focused health systems. Baptist
Health President and Chief Executive Officer Hugh Greene will serve as
initial CEO of Coastal Community Health. Joe Gordy and Michael Scherneck
will serve as Executive Vice Presidents of Coastal. All three will maintain
their roles as CEOs of their respective health systems.
The Coastal Board of Directors is comprised of 12 members – three
each from Flagler Hospital and Southeast Georgia Health System and six
from Baptist Health. The board chair for the initial three-year term is
H. Clark Alger from Flagler Hospital’s Board, who retired as executive
vice president of operations for Delta Airlines after a successful 32-year
career. The vice chair is Michael D. Hodges from Southeast Georgia Health
System, Inc. Board, who currently serves as market president and director
of Ameris Bank in Brunswick.
In a time when many people are faced with high deductibles and employers
are struggling with increasing health care costs, it is the responsibility
of our health systems to lower costs, while at the same time, continuing
to provide the highest quality care to the communities served. Understanding
that the best way to reduce costs is to keep patients healthy and out
of the hospital, several key initiatives of Coastal Community Health will
focus on wellness, patient education, chronic disease management and care
To drive measurable improvements, a dozen collaborative workgroups comprised
of leadership from each of the three health systems are looking at various
initiatives to benefit adults and children in the communities served.
Enhancing child health services:The Players' Center for Child Health at Wolfson Children's Hospital
in Jacksonville is expanding into Georgia, bringing child health education
and safety promotion programs. In 2016, these programs will start expanding
into St. Augustine and the remainder of St. Johns County.
Tele-health for adults and children:Expand availability of tele-health consultations from Jacksonville pediatric
specialists to St. Augustine, Brunswick and Camden County in the next
six to nine months. In addition, connect clinical care teams across the
three health systems for select specialties such as endovascular neurosurgery.
The team’s goal is to provide real-time tele-neurology consults
in first quarter of 2016, and add an additional specialty consult six
Disaster planning:The Coastal Disaster Planning and Mutual Aid Workgroup has prepared a Mutual
Aid and Transfer Agreement in the event of a disaster such as a hurricane.
Joint exercises across the three health systems will also be conducted
and joint FEMA training.
Closing gaps in care:Care coordination for patients will be enhanced with the Patient Education
and Engagement Workgroup looking at collaborations. Community Health Needs
Assessments will also be evaluated to address the vital health needs in
The leadership teams from each health system are currently engaged in
a collective strategic planning initiative, led by the Coastal Community
Health Board of Directors, to help prioritize initiatives and set achievable
targets for the affiliation’s first five years.