That 10-year agreement is not a merger, said Amanda Dow, director of community relations.
“This is in no way a merger or a buy-out,” she said. “This is strictly a management contract agreement. This is a positive thing.”
Officials from three parties were scheduled to announce the agreement during a press conference in Greenville Wednesday morning.
About three years ago, Cannon Memorial Hospital board members began looking at ways to lower costs without laying off employees or affecting the care the community hospital provides, said Cannon Memorial President and CEO Norman Rentz.
AnMed officials became involved in discussions about two years ago, and Carolinas HealthCare System came to the table about a year ago, he said.
Cannon’s board members voted unanimously to enter into the agreement, which takes effect Oct. 1, Dow said.
Under the agreement, AnMed will manage Cannon Memorial Hospital, while Carolinas Healthcare System manages AnMed, Rentz said.
“This three-way arrangement will make us all part of a network for the Upstate and give us access to the size and buying power that comes with such a large network,” Rentz said.
That buying power will help Cannon purchase medical supplies, from small everyday items to large, sophisticated medical machinery, he said.
“What we’re looking for is partners that will help us lower our costs of doing business,” Rentz said.
As talk of healthcare reform continues to heat up in the nation’s capitol, hospital officials realized that hospitals would begin receiving less reimbursement for services rendered, he said.
“Everything you’re reading about healthcare reform now is talking about how can we squeeze more money out of the system so we can use that money to cover more of the uninsured,” Rentz said. “We’ve got to find a way to reach those economies of scale, and the way to do that is to find partners who have that buying power.”
The agreement will connect Cannon’s physicians — and their patients — with a wide array of medical expertise.
“We have a lot of people who know a lot of things, but they also wear a lot of different hats,” Rentz said. “Whereas when you get into very large organizations and healthcare systems, they can concentrate on one particular thing, become so good at it, know everything about it.
“They can share that information with us,” he continued.
The boards of both Cannon and AnMed will remain intact under the agreement, he said.
“They will remain solely the entities responsible for the operation of both hospitals,” Rentz said.
Cannon’s name will not change, and Cannon will continue to be the same hometown hospital’s patients have always known, Dow said.
“We’re not going to become part of a big conglomerate,” she said. “They’re still going to get that same family-feel, hometown-feel that they get when they come into our offices and practices.
“It will help us to improve, and ensure that we will be able to serve the public in the future,” Rentz said. “The patient is not going to see AnMed or Carolinas Healthcare System,” Rentz said. “They will see Cannon Memorial Hospital. All of this other stuff will be going on in the background.”