Q. Why did Princeton HealthCare System seek a potential partnership with another healthcare system?
In 2015, the Princeton HealthCare System (PHCS) Board of Trustees began evaluating the option to partner with another healthcare system to potentially help us meet our mission and build on our many strengths in a rapidly changing environment.
Q. How many potential partners did you consider before choosing Penn Medicine?
PHCS considered 17 strong potential partners.
Q. Who at PHCS was involved in making this decision?
The Strategic Planning process included Trustees, physicians, members of the senior management team and external advisors. The Strategic Planning Committee developed Guiding Principles and Best Practices that were used in evaluating potential partners.
Q. Why did you choose Penn Medicine?
Penn Medicine stood out for many important reasons. It is a world-renowned academic healthcare provider, successfully improving the health and well-being of people through research, education, clinical care and community service. We believe that a partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Health System would result in our patients having better access to the latest medical breakthroughs, clinical trials, cutting-edge technologies and more specialized clinical expertise here in central New Jersey and throughout the Penn Medicine system.
Based on data analysis and extensive discussions with their administrative and physician leaders, we are confident that the organizational capabilities which have enabled Penn Medicine to rank among the top 5 medical schools and top 5 medical schools in NIH funding, top 10 hospitals and top 100 most wired in the United States would be effectively brought to bear on PHCS to enhance our organization.
Q. How would a partnership with Penn Medicine benefit the local community?
The partnership would provide residents of central New Jersey with better access to world-class patient care programs, the latest medical breakthroughs, clinical trials, cutting-edge technologies and more specialized clinical expertise.
Q. Where are PHCS and Penn Medicine in the partnership process?
Penn Medicine and PHCS have signed a non-binding Letter of Intent (LOI) indicating their mutual desire to pursue an affiliation.
Q. What are the next steps in the process?
The next steps are:
- Due Diligence — PHCS and Penn Medicine each will conduct due diligence. The purpose of this due diligence is to give each party a better understanding of the other. The due diligence will include an exchange of documents, interviews and visits. The due diligence process is expected to be completed in Fall 2016.
- Joint Strategic Planning Process — While due diligence is proceeding, PHCS and Penn Medicine will begin a formal strategic planning process designed to further articulate the opportunities presented by the partnership.
- Definitive Agreement — While the parties are conducting due diligence and the strategic planning process is under way, we will negotiate a Definitive Agreement. The Definitive Agreement will include the terms set forth in the Letter of Intent, as well as the other terms upon which PHCS and Penn Medicine agree. The Definitive Agreement is a contract which legally binds both parties to the conditions.
- Regulatory Approvals and Consummation — After the Definitive Agreement is signed, PHCS and Penn Medicine will seek the approvals from the state and the federal government that are required to consummate the partnership. The process may take approximately one year to complete, and the partnership will be effective once all necessary approvals are obtained.
Q. How will physicians be involved as we move toward a Definitive Agreement?
Now that the Letter of Intent is signed, PHCS administration, department chairs and the Combined Committee of the Medical Staff will work together in a transparent process to ensure that PHCS physicians, physician leaders and management are meaningfully involved in the process necessary to move toward a Definitive Agreement.
Q. PHCS has a history of strong local philanthropy. How will donations made to PHCS be affected by the partnership?
The PHCS Foundation would continue to hold and use all donor-restricted gifts made to PHCS in accordance with the donor’s intent. Dollars raised locally would be used locally unless otherwise specified.
Q. How would a partnership between PHCS and Penn Medicine affect my ability to cover the cost of care through Medicare or my private insurance plan?
PHCS will continue to participate in Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans. Penn Medicine is a market leader across the region in adopting Medicare pilot reimbursement initiatives and in working with commercial payers. In New Jersey, Penn Medicine has contracts with the major managed care companies.
Q. Will the partnership impact my medical records?
Your medical records will remain accessible via PHCS and its patient portal.
Q. How have other communities whose healthcare systems have partnered with Penn Medicine been affected?
In other communities where Penn Medicine has partnered with a local hospital or healthcare system, the partnership has increased utilization, improved access and enhanced clinical capabilities.
Q. What impact would a partnership with Penn Medicine have on PHCS’s costs?
We anticipate that the partnership would result in reduced costs while maintaining or improving the quality of care and therefore providing greater value to patients.