September 15, 2021
Hospitals that want to expand their footprint, improve inefficiencies or reduce costs might consider the joint venture model and similar collaborative models of care that allow them to position their organization for future success. The goal of a hospital joint venture is to enhance the ability to collaborate with other partners to gain expert expertise without increased payroll. Joint venture models are based on shared financial responsibility.
Here’s a definition: a joint venture is a combination of two or more parties seeking to develop a single business, entity, or project for profit, equally sharing the developmental risks.
One underlying issue with hospital joint venture models is that not all joint ventures are made equal and not all joint ventures prove successful for the participating parties and their customers. It’s also easy to look at these models as a step away from independence for organizations participating in them, but in actuality, joint ventures can provide significant value to include the enhancement of patient treatment outcomes.
There are three important questions for any hospital system considering a joint venture to consider:
- Which type of joint venture is best for our organization?
- What is the purpose of this joint venture and how does it support our objectives?
- Is this joint venture the right fit for our hospital system right now?
This blog will focus on four popular types of hospital joint ventures: ambulatory surgical centers, post-acute hospital care, freestanding emergency rooms and urgent care facilities, and the dual ER and urgent care model. Let’s look at each of these types of joint ventures:
1. Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs)
When it comes to health care, surgeries are unavoidable. From patient-opted procedures to medical emergencies, surgeries are a vital component of the industry—especially outpatient surgeries. However, not all hospitals specialize in specific surgical disciplines or have the capacity to grow internally. Many hospital systems utilize a partnership with existing established ambulatory surgery centers to handle the hiring of personnel to include surgeons, management and staff and to gain access to more payer plans. These joint venture partnerships also allow hospitals to specialize in specific procedures, positioning them as a viable option for patients wanting or needing distinguishing care.
The joint venture benefits for the ambulatory surgery center might include increased negotiating power in purchasing supplies. The hospital system might have more leverage in negotiations or lucrative endeavors than the ASC, which is why the association between the hospital system and the ASC may prove worthwhile and beneficial for both.
2. Post-Acute Hospital Care
Many hospital systems need to diversify their portfolio of inpatient and outpatient services. As such, many hospital systems partner with established critical care recovery facilities, outpatient rehabilitation clinics and rehabilitation hospitals (also known as post-acute care centers). These centers deliver patients with a continuum of care. Recovering from surgery or an illness takes time; it can be a short or lengthy process depending on the patient’s needs, which is why both rehabilitation and post-acute centers are one of the more common hospital joint venture models.
Post-acute centers also reduce hospital re-admission rates. Hospitals with post-acute centers can reduce the hospital’s ER traffic and increase the efficiency of ER utilization.
3. Freestanding ER and Urgent Cares
Freestanding or standalone emergency rooms and urgent cares are two different entities, and quite a few hospitals partner with standalone ER or urgent care facilities. The freestanding ER and standalone urgent care facilities provide services outside a regular hospital campus. Many are available in rural areas, where health care options are limited. They exist to provide some level of access to patients in need of immediate services.
A freestanding emergency room is open 24 hours a day and handles emergent (and potentially life-threatening) conditions, but standalone ERs cannot perform surgical procedures or admit patients should the individual need additional services rendered. Conversely, urgent cares handle non-emergent cases that are not life-threatening but still require a physician’s care.
Out of all the models, standalone options are not always the best hospital joint venture model, solely because these ERs only bill at higher levels of care. Urgent care centers, on the other hand, can’t treat emergencies, thereby sending patients away to yet another health facility for more effective treatment. They may also deal with longer wait times and are not typically open 24 hours of the day, reducing the opportunity for patients to receive adequate treatment and forcing them to visit the ER.
4. Intuitive Health’s Hybrid-Dual ER and Urgent Care
Intuitive Health pioneered the dual ER and urgent care model, recognizing that the majority of patients who went to a hospital ER did not need to be there and their conditions could be treated at an urgent care facility. Many of these patients left the ER dissatisfied with their experience and with the resulting bill.
Simply put, most consumers don’t know the difference between urgent and emergency care. Many times, when a patient is unsure, they will default to the highest level of care available, often for conditions that could have been treated in urgent care facilities. Unfortunately, this means that consumers pay much higher prices than they should for health care. This also exacerbates inappropriate ER utilization.
When a patient visits an Intuitive Health center, the staff uses an objective criterion to determine if the patient’s appropriate level of care is emergency care or urgent care. Patients are billed accordingly, only paying for the care they require. The patient is always made aware of which type of care they need and how they will billed. The Intuitive Health model significantly reduces its partner hospital’s inappropriate emergency room utilization.
Intuitive Health partners with established health systems nationwide to build, operate and launch freestanding retail health care facilities that provide urgent care and emergency room services under one roof. Intuitive Health’s patient-centered retail-care model is built on a proven business system focused on concierge-level customer service and transparency with little waiting and efficient door-to-door times for patients.
Hospital systems joint venture with Intuitive Health to:
- Drive patient acquisitions
- Increase visibility and access
- Deliver high-level customer service that patients demand
If you’d like to learn more about Intuitive Health’s hospital joint venture model, visit https://www.iheruc.com/about-us/. Learn more about how we care for our patients at https://www.iheruc.com/patients/. To find a location near you, visit https://www.iheruc.com/connect/.