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COVER STORY
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Hospital partnership, continued ...Published: September 01, 2012

Hoag Hospital Presbyterian
Officials do not anticipate any initial changes in staffing levels or additional capital to finance the new company. There are no plans for any new buildings or significant infrastructure changes. Instead, the two entities will leverage assets and staff already employed within the organizations. In time, some functions and services such as administration and clerical duties may be consolidated, Afable said. Hoag and St. Joseph Health will retain their individual identities and faith affiliations: Presbyterian and Catholic.
   
A letter of intent to partner was signed in June. Because both groups are nonprofits, they must apply for a status change with the attorney general, which is planned for October and could take more than 100 days for final approval. Afable does not see any hurdles in securing approval. The name of the new company and the organizational structure, staffing and day-to-day operations have not been agreed upon. It may take up to a year for the new network to be fully functional.
   
Proctor said she and Afable began talking three years ago about the lack of a coordinated healthcare network for O.C. residents, particularly those in lower socioeconomic groups and the uninsured. However, efforts to rally others to their concerns fell short, and the two begin talking about joining forces. Those discussions intensified earlier this year and ended with the agreement to form an affiliation.
   
“It was not a hard sell to my board and leadership,” Proctor said. “St. Joseph and Hoag have much in common. We share the same values and a similar history of caring for the vulnerable. We have deep roots, with the two hospitals having served this community for more than 140 years [combined].”
   
Afable emphasized that the entities are not merging from a legal standpoint. However, he acknowledged that this is a “stepping stone” for future initiatives with each other and other health-related service providers and companies.
   
Afable believes the St. Joseph Health-Hoag partnership can become a model for others in the region, if not nationally.


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