Geisinger, Evangelical joint venture includes shared tech investments

Pennsylvania-based Geisinger and Evangelical Community Hospital have forged a strategic partnership in which $265 million will be invested over five years to enhance care for the communities they serve.

Details on how the $265 million will be spent over five years were not provided by the two healthcare organizations. However, the announcement states that the joint venture includes shared investments in technology.

“This new and unique partnership will serve to strengthen the extraordinary level of care already afforded to this region while preserving our ability to guide our own destiny,” said Kendra Aucker, president and CEO of Evangelical, in a written statement. “Geisinger will make a capital investment in Evangelical, and Evangelical will work with Geisinger to make healthcare delivery in our region more efficient, cost effective and simply better for the patients we serve.”

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“Although Evangelical and Geisinger remain competitors in the marketplace, our unique cooperative approach will allow us to deliver care efficiently, cost effectively and with compassion throughout our region,” said John Meckley, chair of Evangelical’s Board of Directors.

As part of the partnership, Evangelical and Geisinger plan to jointly develop clinical programs to improve population health in Union, Snyder, Lycoming and Northumberland counties.

While Evangelical will remain independent under the terms of the deal, the hospital—which has 1,800 employees and serves Pennsylvania’s Central Susquehanna Valley—will begin to transition to a single information technology platform, as well as leverage Geisinger’s business and operating systems.

In return, Geisinger Health Plan members will have access to Evangelical at lower out-of-pocket costs. In addition, Geisinger will appoint 30 percent of community members who serve on Evangelical’s Board, while Evangelical will appoint a community member to the Geisinger Health Plan Board.

The two organizations hastened to add that the final terms of the deal will be completed by the end of the year.

The partnership will not go into effect until January, said a spokeswoman from Evangelical, who added that it will take about two years to have its systems fully “in line” with Geisinger’s Epic electronic health record and the other business systems.

According to the announcement, Evangelical and Geisinger “have a long history of collaboration,” including participation in the Keystone ACO and the Keystone Health Information Exchange, one of the oldest and largest HIEs in the country.

Geisinger has been an innovator in the use of EHRs, care delivery models, as well as precision medicine. The Danville, Penn.-based health system’s patients are the first in the nation to have the sequencing of their DNA as part of standard care.

“Evangelical will share in Geisinger’s IT innovations,” states the announcement, “and enjoy an improved status with Geisinger Health Plan.”

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