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Press Releases

FAQs regarding affiliation - 10/16/2012

What is happening between Harrison and Franciscan?

Franciscan Health System and Harrison Medical Center have signed a letter of intent (LOI), a non-binding agreement to affiliate in order to improve access to high-quality healthcare services for residents of the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas and North Mason County.

Who is Franciscan Health System?

Franciscan Health System includes St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma; St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way; St. Clare Hospital in Lakewood; St. Elizabeth Hospital in Enumclaw; St. Anthony Hospital in Gig Harbor; Franciscan Hospice House in University Place; Franciscan Medical Group clinics and providers in Pierce, King, and Kitsap counties; and the Franciscan Foundation. Franciscan is part of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), a national nonprofit health organization with headquarters in Englewood, Colorado. The faith-based system operates in 19 states and includes 76 hospitals; 40 long-term care, assisted- and residential-living facilities; two community health-services organizations; two accredited nursing colleges; and home health agencies. In fiscal year 2011, CHI provided more than $612 million in charity care and community benefit, including services for the poor, free clinics, education, and research. With annual operating revenues of approximately $10.5 billion, CHI is the nation’s second-largest Catholic healthcare system. For more information visit Franciscan’s website at www.FHShealth.org.

Why will Harrison affiliate with Franciscan?

We see this relationship as a way to expand the good work that has been done in our community for the past 95 years. Harrison and Franciscan share similar cultures, values, and goals. Over the next eight months, we will work with Franciscan leaders to determine a future working relationship and organizational structure that would have the following benefits:

· Increased Quality of Care

Through affiliation, Harrison and Franciscan can increase quality for patients by sharing resources, best practices, and expertise.

· Improved Access to Care

By working together, Harrison and Franciscan will make it easier for patients to access healthcare across a broad array of services—including primary care, specialized care, research, and home health—on a scale that neither organization can achieve on its own.

· Reduced Health Care Costs

Harrison and Franciscan will collaborate to reduce costs by better organizing how care is delivered. For example, both organizations will work to create improved models for delivering care and managing chronic diseases. This will help make healthcare more affordable for government payers, commercial insurers, employers, and patients.

· A Shared Electronic Medical Record

Another key benefit of the affiliation will be a common electronic medical record that will connect Harrison and Franciscan facilities and physicians throughout our service areas to better serve patients and help improve their health. After Franciscan completes the installation of the Epic electronic medical record at its hospitals and clinics, Harrison will migrate to this platform, including the patient portal known as MyChart.

· Leveraged Expertise

Both organizations bring strength and expertise that, when combined, will benefit the communities we serve.

· Enhanced Access to Capital

Through affiliation with Franciscan and CHI, Harrison will have improved access to capital resources not typically available to stand-alone community hospitals.

Does this mean Franciscan is buying Harrison Medical Center?

No. This affiliation is not a sale of Harrison to Franciscan. The proposed affiliation structure will recognize that Harrison is a separate, secular (non-religious), nonprofit community medical center. Franciscan will become the sole member (parent company) of Harrison. Franciscan has committed to investing in Harrison’s growth and development, including facilities and information technology, to benefit both clinical quality and patient care.

Will Harrison become a Catholic hospital?

As part of the agreement, we will develop a structure in which Harrison continues operating as a secular (non-religious), nonprofit community medical center.

How will the ethical/religious directives of a Catholic organization influence patient care in our community?

Harrison’s current policies regarding abortion and assisted suicide are consistent with these directives. Other items will be addressed during the deliberative process. Harrison works diligently to ensure that we continue to respect and focus on the needs and dignity of our patients, while also honoring the personal and professional preferences of our excellent team of caregivers.

What will happen to the Harrison employees as a result of this affiliation?

After Harrison affiliates with Franciscan, it will be part of an organization with nearly 11,000 employees. It is too early in the process to know which services and functions may be consolidated. In terms of employee benefits, we expect Harrison employees to retain their current benefits. Over time, we will migrate to a shared benefits program. Throughout this process we have been committed to transparency and informing you as soon as we have information to share. We will continue to keep you informed as the affiliation moves forward.

In August, PeaceHealth and CHI announced a partnership agreement which includes Franciscan. How will these organizations all be combined? How will Harrison fit within that structure?

As announced in August, Franciscan and the Oregon facilities of CHI will be joined together with PeaceHealth, a system of hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare services spanning Alaska, Washington, and Oregon, to form a new nonprofit healthcare organization that will serve the Pacific Northwest. It will be owned 50/50 by CHI and PeaceHealth. Harrison, as part of Franciscan, will be included in the new system’s Puget Sound network.

Will Harrison retain its name?

It is planned for Harrison to remain a part of our new name. The full name will be among many other topics that will be explored during the next phase of the affiliation process.

Will Harrison HealthPartners become part of Franciscan Medical Group?

This will be clarified during the deliberative process. To take advantage of shared expertise and resources, it is possible that Harrison HealthPartners may become part of the Franciscan Medical Group.

What will happen to Harrison’s medical staff?

Both medical staff of Harrison and Franciscan will remain separate, because the credentialing of each organization must remain distinct. Credentialing of medical staff is performed by separate community board of directors.

What will happen to the local governance?

Harrison will retain a community board of directors and have representation on the Franciscan board. Likewise, Franciscan will have representation on the Harrison board. Harrison’s community board of directors will provide local oversight, develop and recommend annual operating and capital budgets as well as provide credentialing of medical staff. Details around governance will be determined during the deliberative process.

What will happen to Harrison’s Quality initiatives?

We can further enhance our quality initiatives, build on the economies of scale that a larger organization can provide, and, in light of upcoming healthcare reform, ensure the continued provision of quality healthcare services to the residents of the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas and North Mason County. Harrison and Franciscan are dedicated to working together to deliver on the promise of outstanding clinical quality, as well as great patient care.

Are we insolvent or at risk of closing our doors?

No. Our financial situation is excellent, and better than many peers in the state. Harrison continues to balance expense management while still investing in staff, equipment, facilities, and future operations. This work has led us to streamline our operations—specifically to improve our billing and collections cycle, implement house-wide process improvements, and eliminate waste throughout the organization. This work is essential to our continued success, through affiliation and beyond.

What will happen over the coming months?

This affiliation involves a process that is marked by three distinct phases:

· Phase I, which spanned the past year, was to evaluate whether or not to remain independent or to affiliate.

· Phase II is to garner a definitive agreement and ensure approval from the Harrison and Franciscan governing bodies, as well as to receive state and federal regulatory approval.

· Phase III is to implement this decision and integrate the two organizations.

In addition, during the affiliation process we plan to evaluate how together we can better serve our neighbors who live in Gig Harbor, Port Orchard, Key Peninsula, as well as in North Mason County, Kitsap County, and the Olympic Peninsula.