Community Health Network, Wishard-Eskenazi Health Agree to Launch Landmark Partnership

Health systems to work together to place city in best position for health care reform and to enhance access to patient care

Michelle O’Keefe, Wishard-Eskenazi Health
(317) 310-5972

Indianapolis, IN---Community Health Network and Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County have established an innovative partnership between Wishard-Eskenazi Health and Community Health Network to place both systems and Indianapolis in the best possible position for health care reform and to improve access to quality care for all patients, particularly the indigent and underserved.

“Community is on the forefront of finding innovative ways to deliver the highest quality of patient care,” said Bryan Mills, president and CEO of Community Health Network. “We believe this agreement allows two extraordinary organizations to integrate shared missions and visions focused on providing exceptional care within an expanded geographical footprint.”

“Delivering the best and most accessible care for our patients, and particularly the indigent and underserved who will be seeking greater access to care within the environment of health care reform, is a challenge we embrace and one that our partnership addresses,” said Dr. Lisa Harris, CEO and medical director of Wishard-Eskenazi Health. “Working together, we can do more in the interest of the health and vitality of our community than either organization can do alone. Though the scope of this agreement is unprecedented, the principle of partnering and aligning resources to enhance care, medical education, research and health services is central to the cultures and values of both organizations.”

Mills will continue to serve as president and CEO of Community, and will also take on the role of CEO for the new partnership. Harris will continue to serve as CEO and medical director at Wishard-Eskenazi Health.

“This partnership is a welcomed development for public health in Central Indiana, creating enhanced access to care and providing valuable services to the most vulnerable and underserved in our community,” said U.S. Rep. André Carson. “Eskenazi Health and Community Health Network represent a formidable collaboration, both committed to missions of improving the quality of care and working together to pursue innovations that make public health a priority in Indianapolis.  I look forward to their efforts.”

“Improving the individual health and wellness of everyone in Indianapolis is one of the biggest challenges we face as a community,” said Mayor Greg Ballard. “This innovative public-private nonprofit partnership between Wishard-Eskenazi Health and Community Health Network goes a long way toward addressing that challenge.”

“The health of our community and every individual in it is one of the most valuable resources we have – it’s a resource we continually must seek to advance and improve, and today’s announcement is a major step in delivering a healthier future for Indianapolis,” said Maggie Lewis, president of the City-County Council of Indianapolis/Marion County. “The proposed partnership’s ability to expand access to quality health care for all, and to do it in a way that delivers the highest of quality care in a cost-effective manner, with full participation and engagement of our community, is truly its defining characteristic and something we should all be proud of.”

The partnership is a common agreement in health care, and each system has multiple existing partnerships with academic, research, physician and care organizations such as the Indiana University School of Medicine, the Indiana University School of Nursing, the Indiana University School of Dentistry, the Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine, MD Anderson Cancer Network, the Regenstrief Institute, IU Health Physicians, the Purdue University College of Pharmacy, the Butler University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, the Ivy Tech School of Nursing, the Ball State University School of Nursing and others.

“Our main focus is the health and wellness of our patients and our community, and this partnership will help both Wishard-Eskenazi Health and Community Health Network deliver on our commitment to that shared priority,” said Matthew R. Gutwein, president and CEO of Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County. “This partnership is about our families, our children, our parents and our grandparents. This partnership is about access for everyone, including the most vulnerable in our community. This partnership is about preparing for the dramatic changes of health reform so that we can best serve our community and the health of people from all walks of life across our community. This partnership is about our patients, physicians, nurses and staff and the future health care professionals that will care for all of Indiana.”

“The complementary nature of this partnership reflects a forward-thinking approach to deal with the coming changes of health reform and means better access, better quality and better cost,” said Tim Hobbs, M.D., chief physician executive for Community Health Network. “This agreement broadens the scope of health care services to both our patient populations in Central Indiana and also connects the two systems most committed to primary and preventive care.”

Both health care systems have entered, and respective boards have approved, the agreement that establishes the partnership going forward. Community Health Network and Wishard-Eskenazi Health have entered a period of due diligence in which they will assess resources and potential collaborations to ensure a smooth progression for employees and physicians providing care and services to patients across the two systems.  The private-public partnership agreement is different from a merger or acquisition. It entails no transfer, lease or sale of facilities.

“This partnership extends the efforts of the Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County, especially over the past decade as the scope of the health challenge has grown, to be innovative and bold in creating initiatives that advance our mission to promote and protect the health of everyone and to provide care for the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Dr. James Miner, chair of the Health & Hospital Corporation Board of Trustees.

“This partnership is a great development for the health of our community and another signature moment in our city’s ongoing drive toward truly becoming one of America’s greatest cities,” said John Thompson, chairman of the board of the Indy Chamber and co-chair of the Eskenazi Health Capital Campaign Cabinet. “The health and wellness of every man and woman in our greater Indianapolis community is central to all that we do, from our workforce and economic development to our quality of life and the fabric of our neighborhoods. Our health is vitally important, and this partnership takes an innovative and significant step toward its betterment.”

“This is an outstanding example of two institutions of excellence and high performance who put their patients and the community first,” said Dr. Virginia Caine, director of the Marion County Public Health Department. “These two institutions continually engage the community and determine its needs and are now able to come together to provide an innovative solution. The benefits from this collaboration are to expand access to people who otherwise wouldn’t have it and to truly emphasize patient-focused care.”

The partnership aligns management of all Central Indiana Community Health Network and Wishard-Eskenazi Health facilities, including the new Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Eskenazi Health campus opening in December 2013, Wishard Memorial Hospital and the Eskenazi Health network of primary care centers throughout Indianapolis, as well as Community’s network of suburban hospitals, health pavilions and physician practices, including Community Hospital East, Community Hospital North, Community Hospital South, Community Hospital Anderson, Community Westview Hospital and Community Howard Regional Health.  All locations will continue to remain open as a result of this partnership, with some facilities receiving significant investment in renovation or expansion.

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