Elliot Hospital CEO says he has no agenda on mergers
During the 2000s, his Meriter Health Services hospital in Madison, Wis., flirted with the idea of closer ties to a larger health care organization attached to the University of Wisconsin. But when talks broke down, the two organizations competed aggressively against one another for several years.
Ever since the 1990s, the Greater Manchester area has been wary of hospital mergers. In 1999, a five-year merger between Elliot Hospital and its crosstown rival, Catholic Medical Center, dissolved over issues of hospital identity and abortion.
Still, Dartmouth-Hitchcock remains interested in Greater Manchester. Last year, Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Elliot said the two organizations would collaborate on ambulatory surgery, mental health, gastroenterology and endocrinology in the Manchester area.
At Meriter, Woodward earned $855,400 in salary and other compensation for the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2012, the latest year reports are publicly available through guidestar.org. Mercier said Tuesday that Woodward’s salary is under negotiation.
The hospital battles in Madison drew much newspaper coverage, said Lisa Brunette, a spokesman for UW Health of Madison, Wis. She said two UW Health board members most familiar with the merger issues were not available for comment.
Woodward said discussions fell apart over two issues. Meriter was losing services such as MRIs to UW Health, and UW Health wanted its medical staff to have a monopoly at the hospital. That would end Meriter privileges for about 100 physicians, Woodward said.
According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the two organizations started building clinics close to each other’s established clinics. UW Health announced plans for a fifth hospital in Madison.
Simultaneously, the organizations collaborated on maternity care, fertility care and the Madison Surgery Center, the newspaper said. Woodward said one of his board members termed the relationship “coop-etition.”
As part of the affiliation, Meriter retains its independent board. The deal provided UnityPoint an entree into Wisconsin as well as the health-insurance business. Meriter owns a majority share in Physicians Plus Insurance Corp. (PPIC), a for-profit, provider-owned health insurance plan.
UnityPoint executives have said PPIC is beating projections for the current fiscal year.
Woodward said Wisconsin is one of the leaders in the country in provider-owned health plans. He said all provider-owned plans in Wisconsin are losing money, which he attributes to competitive pressures.
“I think it could really be a win-win for all three organizations,” Woodward said.
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