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GHS, Palmetto Health announce new health care company

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Greenville Heath System and Palmetto Health have announced the formation of a health care company that will handle strategy, budgeting and coordination between the two entities. The new group will include 13 hospitals — including Greenville Memorial — from the Upstate to the Midlands. (Photo/Provided)

Greenville Health System and Palmetto Health are coming together to form a yet-to-be-named health care company that will handle strategy, budgeting and the coordination of activities between the two health systems.

Mike Riordan, CEO of the Strategic Coordinating Organization for GHS, said during a press conference Thursday “the responsibilities for meeting the health care needs of their local communities will remain with GHS and Palmetto Health, and each entity will continue to have a board of directors accountable for assuring that community health needs are met and overseeing the quality of care provided in those communities.”

He said the goal is to complete the necessary steps to have the transaction closed with an anticipated launch date of Jan. 1, 2018.

Participating in the announcement of a new health care company were, from left, Lisa Stevens, chairwoman, Greenville Health Authority Board of Trustees; Frances Ellison, chairwoman, Strategic Coordinating Organization Board of Directors; Michael Riordan, CEO, Strategic Coordinating Organization for GHS; Dr. Spence Taylor, president, Greenville Health System, and Michelle Seaver, director, GHS Board of Directors. (Photo/Teresa Cutlip)Riordan and Palmetto Health CEO Charles Beaman will serve as co-CEOs of the new health care company. The board of the new health company will initially have an equal number of directors selected by the current Strategic Coordinating Organization and Palmetto Health boards, according to Frances Ellison, chairwoman of the Strategic Coordinating Organization board of directors. Thereafter, the health company board will select members as vacancies occur using competency based criteria, she said.

“While this new health company represents a major change in our corporate organization and in Palmetto Health’s, there will continue to be two providers – GHS in the Upstate and Palmetto Health in the Midlands – who work hard every day to provide quality affordable care to their communities,” Ellison said.

Riordan said the two health systems will be fully integrated at the administrative level, financial level and on a strategic level. Patients will be seen in the local communities just as today, he said, adding that the two health systems will “remain separate legal entities.”

“What changes will patients see? It’s our hope that by coming together we can actually expand programs that we may not be able to have individually,” Riordan said. “The big benefit for patients is that they won’t have to go to travel to Charlotte or Atlanta for care.”

Riordan also said the new health care company “will serve patients from all of South Carolina’s 46 counties,” and that nearly half of South Carolinians will be within 15 minutes “of one of our physician practices or health facilities.”

“The new health company will have the potential to invest up to an additional $1 million over the next five years in our Midlands and Upstate communities through programs, technology, facilities and team members, all to improve the health of our citizens,” Riordan said.

During the next phases of due diligence and planning for integration, both organizations are seeking necessary third-party approvals. In the meantime, Greenville Health System and Palmetto Health will continue to offer care and services as two separate, independent organizations, according to a news release.

More information is available online.

Reach Teresa Cutlip at 720-1223.

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