UNC Health Care has begun providing management and operational services for Nash Health Care Systems under an agreement that was announced in December.
The agreement, which went into effect Tuesday, doesn’t involve the sale of any assets. Nash will purchase a set of services from UNC for an annual fee that equals about 0.2 percent of its revenue. That would have totaled about $420,000 last year.
UNC will help Nash improve how it measures the outcomes of patients treated within its system, work to reduce operating costs, increase revenues and collections, and recruit physicians.
Nash County officials say the agreement with UNC will allow the system to achieve greater cost savings and deliver better care to patients. The agreement with UNC came after Nash issued a request for proposals in June to UNC and four other regional hospital systems.
Many smaller health care systems have chosen to merge or affiliate with larger systems as they attempt to navigate a rapidly changing health care landscape.
Among the biggest challenges is adjusting to changes in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements that are being driven by the Affordable Care Act. The law is designed to reward doctors and hospitals for reducing unnecessary procedures and taking steps to limit costly hospital admissions.
Nash Health Care Systems has 403 beds spread across five hospitals: Nash General Hospital, Nash Day Hospital, the Bryant T. Aldridge Rehabilitation Center, Community Hospital and Coastal Plain Hospital.
Under its agreement with UNC, Nash’s CEO becomes an employee of UNC and reports to both a local hospital board and UNC. UNC has a similar agreement with Pardee Hospital in Hendersonville.
“This affiliation will strengthen our position as a regional medical center,” Larry Chewning, Nash’s CEO and president, said in a statement.
Staff writer David Bracken