Sunday, October 24, 1999

Area hospital groups

        • THE HEALTH ALLIANCE OF GREATER CINCINNATI: Announced in February 1994 as a marriage between Christ and University Hospitals, the alliance has grown to include Jewish, St. Luke and Fort Hamilton hospitals.

        After closing the main Jewish Hospital in Avondale, moving services to Jewish Hospital in Kenwood, and turning the once-public University Hospital into a private non-profit, the Health Alliance still lost $88 million in operations in the past two years.

        Now, the alliance is starting a two-year turnaround plan aimed at eliminating losses by June 30, 2000, and making money by June 30, 2001. Changes so far include dumping its home health-care businesses, service cuts at Fort Hamilton, eliminating maternity services in Kenwood, and shifting to a service-line management structure.

        • TRIHEALTH: Started in 1995 as a management merger of Good Samaritan, Bethesda Oak and Bethesda North hospitals.

        TriHealth organized itself faster than the Health Alliance, but never did add more hospitals to its group. It has moved many high-tech services to its busy Bethesda North site in Montgomery. But after doctors objected, administrators backed off a 1997 plan to make deep cuts to Bethesda Oak that would have closed its emergency department.

        TriHealth lost $30 million in operating expenses in fiscal 1999. It too has been working on budget plans. “There is a lot of change still coming,” said spokesman Jeff Blunt.

        • CATHOLIC HEALTHCARE PARTNERS: This is the newest and most loosely organized of Cincinnati's three hospital groups. It started several years ago as an umbrella organization that includes the Mercy hospitals in Anderson Township, Batavia, Hamilton, Fairfield and the two Franciscan hospitals in Westwood and Mount Airy, along with many other health-care services in other cities. Locally, CHP expanded in early 1998 to include St. Elizabeth Medical Center, which controls three hospitals in Northern Kentucky.

        The group was still getting organized when Mercy hospitals bought Franciscan hospitals earlier this year. How the new relationships will change medical services at CHP remains to be seen.


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