Savannah Hospital Systems Partner to Reduce Costs

(September 4, 2009) - Savannah's two hospital systems are partnering to purchase common medical and surgical supplies in an effort to reduce costs.

The agreement is the direct result of the two systems coming together two years ago to find solutions to challenges they both face. Purchasing supplies together could lead to improvements in the delivery of healthcare.

The U.S. Department of Justice approved the agreement Friday.

"This shows an unprecedented level of cooperation between St. Joseph's/Candler and Memorial that will benefit patients in our region," said Paul P. Hinchey, president and CEO of St. Josephs'/Candler. It will allow us to maintain community outreach programs that are threatened by Medicaid and Medicare cuts that are extremely important to many disenfranchised groups now trying to seek healthcare."

"I am pleased to learn that the Department of Justice has approved our request. I believe that this joint purchasing agreement will help us to continue to provide the highest level of quality healthcare to our community. We look forward to working with our colleagues at St. Joseph's Candler on this important endeavor," said Phillip S. Schaengold, J.D., MBA, president and CEO of Memorial Health.

Under the proposed agreement, Memorial and St. Joseph's/Candler would jointly evaluate medical and surgical products, designate suppliers and negotiate prices and other terms with them.

Both health systems, like others around the country, are facing challenges in fulfilling their missions to the community in light of declining governmental reimbursement.

This backdrop served as the impetus for discussion that began in 2007 on areas of collaboration. At the same time, we've avoided any topics that would adversely affect the competitiveness of the two systems.

The healthcare systems believe that this collaborative effort furthers their charitable mission to provide quality and cost efficient healthcare to the community.

Memorial University Medical Center is a two-state healthcare organization serving a 35-county area in southeast Georgia and southern South Carolina. The system includes its flagship hospital, a 530-bed academic medical center; Memorial primary and specialty care physician networks; a major medical education program; business and industry services; and NurseOne, a 24-hour call center.