The announcement Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital made last month regarding a formal affiliation agreement with Sparrow has everything to do with trust, according to HGB Board of Trustees Chairman Dr. Fred Darin.
“It’s important for people to understand that this is not a sudden decision,” Darin said this past week. “This is part of an ongoing strategic plan that we’ve been pursuing for a decade.”
Trust that Sparrow Hospital was the right choice for Hayes Green Beach has been built over the course of the last four years. HGB entered into an informal agreement with Sparrow four years ago that boosted services locally. From that point, and even before, Darin explained, HGB officials and board members had been analyzing possible partners to ensure the future stability of the hospital.
“We’ve been sampling the research studies for years to find out who our residents prefer for local care, for advanced care and Sparrow is the overwhelming preference,” Darin said. “That was the obvious choice before we ever began discussing this sort of thing.”
Darin said entering into the formal affiliation and allowing the three-year transition period will allow HGB to continue to accomplish many of the objectives it has previously identified.
“It became apparent to us long ago that we would probably want to affiliate with a tertiary hospital in some aspect in order to achieve some economy of scale and help leverage some of our investments and make sure our financial stability long term,” he said. “This has been another step in the process of continuing our strategic plan. What we’re really after is trying to grow our patient experience, quality of care and extending the access to services locally for patients. Our mission reflects that, one of our primary goals is to improve the health and vitality of our community.”
Board member Ed Dobbs said the Sparrow partnership can improve a patient’s experience.
“We’ve tied in the local hospital experience with Sparrow and Sparrow is tied in with Mayo, so you have this continuum of care for some of the best care ever,” Dobbs said. “That’s a fantastic opportunity for the people that live in this community to have access to that kind of care.”
HGB Physicians will benefit in the near future as Sparrow and HGB integrate their technology systems to streamline patient information.
“New information technology would be something we would have a hard time achieving, but is a very high priority for our medical staff and we understand from feedback and discussion groups that it’s a pretty high priority for our patients and our citizens that come here for care,” Darin said. “Sharing the cost with Sparrow is a major expansion in the ability of our doctors to serve our patients well. It increases the quality of care and increases the patient’s experience because they don’t have to wait as long for results. The physician’s can serve the patients more effectively and efficiently.”
HGB President and CEO Matt Rush said trust with Sparrow has been built over the course of the last few years as he has been allowed to sit on the Sparrow board and Sparrow CEO Dennis Swan has done the same at HGB.
“We’ve been getting to know Sparrow from the inside,” Rush said. “That’s because there has been a mutual trust and transparency built up. We’ve been able to see inside the Sparrow boardroom, how it treats small community hospitals in its system and how much respect there is for local community hospitals. It was really a brilliant move on our board’s part to ease our way into these relationships.”
Rush said trust in the HGB board has been built throughout the local community through its actions in recent years.
“This board is unique in that it both leads and listens,” Rush said. “It has a real pragmatic side and is very grounded in who we are and who we’re not going to be. It’s also very visionary, it’s a forward looking board so this community can count on community members making sure we are in it for the long run. That’s the definition of being a fiduciary and that’s what this board is in the truest sense. It treasures the asset of a community hospital, listens to the community, but also takes the community toward the future.”
Full terms of the formal affiliation agreement will be finalized sometime in June of this year.