Conway Regional, CHI St. Vincent announce strategic partnership

Conway Regional Health System (Conway Regional) and CHI St. Vincent recently announced that the two health systems have signed an agreement whereby Conway Regional enters into a five-year management agreement with CHI St. Vincent. Under the agreement, effective Aug. 17, each health system will retain its name, governance and autonomy.

Officials have pointed out that the partnership is not a sale or acquisition. It is not the same as CHI St. Vincent’s relationship with the hospitals in Hot Springs and Morrilton.

The agreement comes after months of discussions between the two organizations, the final phase of a process that began in late 2013 when Conway Regional’s board announced it was seeking a strategic affiliation partner to ensure that Conway Regional will be well positioned to continue providing access to high quality health care services for Faulkner County and the north central Arkansas area.

As a result of these discussions, the two companies also announced the formation of a new corporate entity called the Arkansas Health Alliance. Jim Lambert, president and CEO of Conway Regional, became president of the Arkansas Health Alliance effective Aug. 17. The Alliance will be the only organization of its kind in Arkansas designed to help independent community hospitals and health care systems lower their costs while achieving a level of clinical integration and coordination of care to promote more accessible, higher quality and lower cost care for the communities served by Alliance members.

“Having the opportunity to build an organization of this kind that has the potential to help not only Conway Regional, but other independent community hospitals throughout the state is very exciting. I know through my service on the board of the Arkansas Hospital Association, many independent hospitals  
are looking for an ally in today’s rapidly changing health care environment,” said Lambert.

As part of the management agreement, Matt Troup, vice president of ancillary and support services for CHI St. Vincent, succeeds Lambert as CEO of Conway Regional. Troup has nearly 20 years of experience serving in administrative leadership positions at large medical centers in very competitive markets.

In addition, to ensure access to the deepest level of resources and support CHI St. Vincent can provide, Conway Regional COO Alan Finley, CFO Steve Rose and CNO Jacquelyn Wilkerson will transition to become CHI St. Vincent employees.

Commenting on the agreement, Barbara G. Williams, Chairman of the Conway Regional Board, said, “Our responsibility will always be the health and well-being of the residents of the five counties we have served since 1938. This partnership will provide our community with expanded services and specialties while working to reduce health care costs. Both Conway Regional and CHI St. Vincent have the benefit of retaining our individual autonomy, meaning we can still respond to our markets in the way that is best for each of our organizations and the patients we serve. This agreement also creates accountability to our communities as we continue to lead the way in health care excellence. We are excited that Jim Lambert will now be leading the Arkansas Health Alliance, working with hospitals and health care systems like Conway Regional to ensure that communities throughout Arkansas continue to receive the highest quality health care services from hospitals that are an integral part of those communities.”

Chad S. Aduddell, Chief Executive Officer of CHI St. Vincent, said, “Through this agreement, we plan to work together to grow the health services provided in our communities. Our approach will be consumer-focused and based on the value of services we provide rather than the volume of care, as in the traditional fee-for-service method. We have committed to work together in new and innovative ways to make care more widely available, enhance the quality and safety of the care delivered and to reduce the cost of care. With this agreement in place we know that Conway Regional and CHI St. Vincent can lead the way for other health care systems in the state.”