Doylestown Health, Grand View partner up to help patients, cut costs

Two Bucks County health systems, Doylestown Health and Grand View Health, are forming new collaborations as they grapple with post-pandemic financial challenges.Through a new clinical partnership formalized in February, the two systems have started sharing some specialized doctors and other providers of health services.Doylestown’s cardiothoracic surgeons have been operating on Grand View’s trauma patients, for example. And Doylestown’s family medicine residents will train in Grand View’s pediatric unit.The collaboration enables patients to access more medical care locally, Grand View’s president and chief executive officer Douglas Hughes said in an interview. His goal is to ensure that patients, whenever possible, won’t need to travel to Philadelphia to receive care.“People want to be cared for in their community,” he said.The systems are also beginning to explore administrative collaborations. By sharing the cost of some services, such as for tech systems, they both could reduce expenses, Hughes said. No decisions have been made yet.Both Doylestown and Grand View intend to remain independent.“This is not the merger of the two organizations,” Jim Brexler, Doylestown’s chief executive officer and president, told investors last week.» READ MORE: Doylestown Health agreed to sell Pine Run retirement community. The price: $80.6 million.Doylestown and Grand View serve Bucks County and the northeastern part of Montgomery County, and they are among the most cash-strapped nonprofit health systems in the region. They are also located between two growing health care markets — Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley.The two chief executive officers hope that the partnership will improve the care patients receive, while reducing operating costs. And the collaborations are not confined to either hospital’s walls.Many health care providers’ offices in the Bucks and Montco area have been affiliated with either Doylestown or Grand View. Providers in each of the two affiliate networks shared electronic medical records internally and negotiated with insurers together. Earlier this year, the systems integrated their networks under a new organization called the Alliance for Better Care to help patients access more health services, Brexler said. The executives hope that the larger group of providers will also have more clout at the negotiating table.Higher costs for labor, pharmaceuticals, and other supplies in recent years have saddled many other health systems nationwide with financial losses. While Doylestown and Grand View have collaborated in the past, these changes pushed them to seek more intentional partnerships, Brexler said.

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