Sweeping change has occurred in many industry sectors, most notably, telecommunications and banking, but almost every industry has had to adapt to a new normal. A business model that would not have been considered as little as a decade ago has industries trying to transition as quickly as possible. Nowhere is that more true than in health care.
The announcement of a collaboration between Central Georgia Health System (parent of The Medical Center of Central Georgia) and Houston Healthcare is but one example of a changing health care landscape. Competitors are morphing into collaborators. Why? They have to. The old business model of every hospital being everything to everybody is dead. It’s too expensive and the money is just not there for that model to continue.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but hospitals have to figure out a way to keep people out of the hospital. That’s looking after the health of the total community. Of course there are people who need to be in the hospital, but some end up there because there’s nowhere else to go. With the Affordable Health Care Act coming next year, changes have to be made -- and made now. Cost-shifting -- charging paying patients more in order to be in a position to give services to those who can’t pay or are on government-sponsored health care plans -- is coming to an end.
But there is another important reason the two health care providers have decided its time to work together. The Medical Center and Houston Healthcare have a common enemy. No, it’s not cancer or heart disease, it goes by a different acronym, one that strikes fear in the heart of every Middle Georgian: BRAC.
The Base Realignment and Closure Commission will be looking for a comprehensive, collaborating health care system as one of the items BRAC commissioners want to see. And although there are voices saying there will be no BRAC, the cuts to the military over the next decade will certainly look like one with less control by elected or military leaders
Look for more collaborations in Middle Georgia, an area where many people live more than a “Golden Hour” from accessible health care.