March 18, 1998
Gary Stephenson, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
PHONE: (410) 955-5384
F. John Walker, Jr., Howard County General Hospital
PHONE: (410) 740-7810
In what is being characterized as a "reunion," Howard Health System has ended its search for a strategic partner by selecting nationally-acclaimed Johns Hopkins Medicine, one of the founders of Howard County General Hospital 25 years ago.
"We are very excited about this homecoming," said Johns Hopkins Medicine's Dean/CEO Edward D. Miller, M.D. "This partnership between Johns Hopkins Medicine and Howard Health System combines superior academic medicine with a strong, community-focused, integrated delivery system, which will benefit patients, communities, employees, physicians, and medicine itself."
Hopkins, which emerged as the unanimous choice of Howard County General Hospital's (HCGH's) Board of Trustees, has agreed to assume HCGH's debt of $57 million; fund the balance of HCGH's $25 million, five-year strategic plan; fund HCGH's $20 million, five-year capital replacement plan; and fund approximately $40 million for the Board to establish a new, community-based foundation to enhance the health and wellness of Howard Countians.
"A special financing opportunity associated with the acquisition of an unrelated organization made it possible for Hopkins to commit these funds without taking resources away from our current operations or community," said Ronald R. Peterson, President of The Johns Hopkins Health System and The Johns Hopkins Hospital.
In addition, Johns Hopkins Medicine has agreed that Howard County residents will make up at least two-thirds of Howard County General Hospital's Board of Trustees. The agreement between the two partners also provides that representatives of the Columbia-based hospital will be appointed to the Boards of Johns Hopkins Medicine and certain of its affiliates.
During dozens of meetings with community representatives since last October, local control of the Hospital emerged as the number-one priority, according to Alton J. Scavo, Chairman of Howard County General Hospital Board of Trustees.
"We were never looking for the 'high bidder,'" Scavo pointed out. "We wanted to find a partner with a commitment to quality care who also believed Howard County residents should have influence over decisions affecting health services offered in Howard County."
The agreement with Johns Hopkins Medicine provides that certain important matters require the participation of the HCGH Board, including the formulation of policies regarding quality of care, selection of local management, scope of services offered and formulation of capital and operating budgets.
The HCGH Board of Trustees chose Hopkins from a pre-selected group of prospective partners, citing such anticipated benefits of the union as continued improvement of clinical quality of care, increased managed care contracting opportunities, enhanced collaboration with community physicians, and expansion of services and market area.
"Hopkins is not just the best of the outstanding choices we had available," Scavo said. "It is the right partner for us, further enabling us to achieve our mission. Hopkins provides future opportunities beyond the dreams of a community hospital operating on its own. It is incredibly exciting for us to have made such a match."
"The joining of Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Howard Health System will strengthen local control of our region's most important health resources," said George L. Bunting, Jr., Chairman of the Boards of Johns Hopkins Medicine, The Johns Hopkins Hospital and The Johns Hopkins Health System. "Our missions, which reflect traditions of care and community commitment, will be advanced into the new century."
The closing on the transaction between the two not-for-profit health organizations is anticipated in three to six months, after notifying appropriate state and federal regulatory agencies.
Johns Hopkins Medicine and Howard County General Hospital are already partners in the Central Maryland Heart Center, a joint venture which provides outpatient cardiac catheterization in Howard Health System's Ambulatory Care Center, adjacent to the Hospital.
"We are very pleased to be embarking on a new relationship with an old friend," said Victor A. Broccolino, Howard County General Hospital President and CEO. "The partnership with Johns Hopkins Medicine allows us to enhance and expand our existing commitment to improving the health of Howard Countians."
Broccolino, who has been with HCGH since 1990, will remain in his current role at HCGH under the new relationship.
Johns Hopkins Medicine is known worldwide for medical research and highly innovative medical care. This organization unites the physicians and faculty of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with the organizations, physicians and facilities of The Johns Hopkins Health System to cover a full spectrum of activities in teaching, research and patient care.
The $1.5 billion enterprise includes two acute-care hospitals--The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center--as well as the Johns Hopkins Geriatrics Center and all aspects of an integrated health care delivery system, including suburban satellites, a 17-site ambulatory care practice and a home care group.
Howard Health System, which provides coordinated health care services to residents of Howard County and surrounding communities at numerous facilities, is Howard County General Hospital's umbrella organization. HCGH, the System's flagship, was founded 25 years ago as Columbia Hospital and Clinics Foundation, a joint project of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Connecticut General Life Insurance Co. It was reorganized a year later as Howard County General Hospital, a private, not-for-profit community hospital.
Howard County General Hospital has grown into a 233-bed, comprehensive, acute-care medical center that provides a broad range of services, including women's and children's services, surgery, cardiology, oncology, gerontology, psychiatry, emergency services and community health education. It is the county's fifth largest employer, with nearly 1,200 full- and part-time employees. The 600-member Medical Staff represents 34 specialties and subspecialties.
In April, Howard County General Hospital will open a new, family-centered Maternal-Child Unit, as well as The Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource and Image Center, Howard County's first resource center for cancer patients.