Arizona hospital group losing three of its largest members
Three of the biggest members of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association all told the organization on the same day that they plan to leave. System executives called the association Jan. 26 to tell them the news. Banner Health, Phoenix, operates 21 hospitals total, with 11 in Arizona. Dignity Health, a 38-hospital system based in San Francisco (until recently called Catholic Healthcare West—see story, p. 6), operates three in Arizona. Abrazo Health Care, a division of 18hospital Vanguard Health Systems, Nashville, operates five hospitals in Arizona. All three organizations will now work together and address issues of “mutual concern,” said Banner spokesman Bill Byron. The No. 1 issue is dealing with the rising costs in uncompensated care, he added. The details of the new collaboration have yet to be worked out, but the spokesman said that leaving the association gave the systems a more efficient way of addressing their problems. AZHHA spokesman Pete Wertheim said the systems didn’t explain their reason for quitting the association. “I would have to defer to them for the steps that led up to it,” he said. He added that he hopes the departures are only temporary, and he said it’s too early to draw parallels with a recent development in Massachusetts, where Steward Health Care System left the Massachusetts Hospital Association.