Friday, November 19, 1999

Health Alliance aims to stay intact

        Contrary to speculation, the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati will not be breaking up anytime soon.

        “The rumors of our divorce were greatly exaggerated,” said Gail Myers, Health Alliance spokeswoman.

        Well in advance of a Dec. 1 deadline, Christ Hospital's board of trustees voted Wednesday to approve a two-year suspension of an exit clause that allows member hospitals to leave the alliance if it fails to meet internal financial goals.

        The Health Alliance was launched by a partnership between University and Christ hospitals announced Feb. 14, 1994. It has grown to include the Jewish, St. Luke and Fort Hamilton hospitals.

        But operating losses of $88 million in the past two years meant the alliance had no chance of meeting its financial targets. That gave member hospitals the opportunity to use the exit clause.

        While the Health Alliance board had approved a two-year turnaround plan filled with budget cuts and plans to renegotiate managed care contracts, Christ Hospital's board had hired a consultant to help decide whether to stay.

        The St. Luke and Fort Hamilton hospitals also have decided to stay. The University and Jewish hospital boards are expected to vote before Dec. 1. Both are expected to support the turnaround plan, Ms. Myers said.


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- Health Alliance aims to stay intact