TMH sticks with Quorum

Board promises to improve the way hospital does business

Nine months of negotiations culminated Wednesday when The Memorial Hospital's Board of Trustees authorized a renewed contract with Quorum Health Resources, its management company.

The six-year contract will cost the hospital $220,000 a year, said Sue Lyster, chairwoman of TMH's Board of Trustees.

"I don't want the community to think we rubber-stamped this decision," Lyster said after trustees voted to renew the contract. "It's something we thought long and hard about."

Trustee Gene Bryant said he was pleased the board renewed the contract with Quorum, which has shown an interest in the community beyond TMH. Quorum has provided free consultation, such as the feasibility study that was conducted concerning a new nursing home. Quorum supports The Memorial Hospital Foundation's annual golf tournament and other activities, Bryant said.

The complex business of health care requires the ongoing consultation provided by Quorum, Bryant said. Because TMH has to work closely with government agencies, it needs to stay abreast of the nuances in the industry, Bryant said.

"We need to have experts available to ask for advice when we have to make tough decisions," he said.

Quorum's regional president, Robert Jobin, discussed the benefits TMH derives from the group purchasing plan that is part of the relationship. About 75 percent to 80 percent of the materials a hospital needs can be purchased at discounted prices, Jobin said.

In 2001, 2002 and 2003, TMH saved $117,000, $154,000 and $230,000, respectively, on supplies it purchased.

Bryant said it makes good business sense to partner with Quorum.

Although the management company will be the same, the community should expect to see big changes in the way The Memorial Hospital does business, Lyster said. The changes won't be mere technicalities but noticeable adjustments in TMH's operation that officials hope will coincide with a changing perception within the community, Lyster said.

"We want this to be a hospital people come to because they're treated well and they get good outcomes," Lyster said.

Lyster said she couldn't disclose the exact nature of what's to come but that the community is asking for changes and the board plans to deliver.

"We're talking about changes in attitude, changes in accountability," Lyster said.

Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or jbrowning@craigdailypress.com

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