Stories of consolidation and reinvention from the Fall/Winter 2013 Leadership magazine.

Strategic Decisions

Mountain States Adds an Insurance Arm 

Mountain States Health Alliance (MSHA), a four-state health system based in Johnson City, Tenn., recognized that a strategy based on increasing inpatient utilization would not sustain the organization in the long term. As part of its growth strategy, MSHA launched an insurance arm called CrestPoint Health.

“The insurance company is not there to become the next WellPoint, the next United, or the next Aetna. It’s there to be a strategic asset,” said Rob Slattery, president and CEO of Integrated Solutions Health Network, CrestPoint’s parent organization. Read the article

Leader Profile

The Transformation of Safety-Net Hospitals

With limited access to preventive and chronic care management, many patients arrive at safety-net hospitals like Truman Medical Centers with advanced or out-of-control health conditions. President and CEO John W. Bluford III is addressing these challenges with an initiative called Thinking-Outside-of-the-Bed, which tackles socioeconomic challenges with tactics such as a farmers market and a patient-friendly bank within the hospital. Read the article.

IT Strategies 

Securing Mountains of Data 

Unless secured, patients’ electronic health records, billing and payment records, digital images, and other sensitive details can be illegally downloaded. IT experts are scrambling to find the best available solutions in a time of evolving data storage and security capabilities. 

Mississippi-based St. Dominic Hospital chose an onsite solution called scale-out, network-attached storage. Working with the vendor, St. Dominic staff hooked up two storage clusters in just a few hours. In contrast, Children’s Hospital Central California uses a hybrid storage approach with some in-house data centers and some that are cloud-based.  Read the article

Consumerism 

The Many Faces of Retail Health

CHE-Trinity is sending volunteers with laptops to laundromats and churches to educate consumers about the health insurance exchanges. The health system also plans to use kiosks in its ambulatory offices and hospitals to help patients who do not have home Internet access register for insurance online. “For us, ‘winning’ means successfully transitioning into the new wave of consumer/patient interaction and retail orientation,” said Preston Gee, former senior vice president of strategic planning and marketing at the Trinity Health division. Read the article

Additional Resources

Leadership Voices

In his Leadership column, James L. Reinertsen, MD, poses the question: “Can a health system without an insurance arm succeed in today’s marketplace?” 

In another Leadership column, HFMA’s Todd Nelson points to Priority Health’s comparison shopping tool as a commendable example of how providers and payers can help patients make better choices. 

Finally, four healthcare leaders share how their roles are evolving as the healthcare landscape changes. 

Publication Date: Monday, November 18, 2013