Greenville Health System Board of Trustees on Tuesday approved the health system’s new $2.2 billion budget but also continued its discussions of a plan that would keep GHS as a public, not-for-profit organization which could become part of a larger multi-regional not-for-profit health system.
The proposal would maintain the current Greenville operations as a preeminent safety-net healthcare system but also give it the flexibility to explore partnerships with other governmental, not-for-profit and for-profit entities that are currently not feasible under its current governmental status.
The current governance structure prevents GHS from achieving the scale needed to be a leading system in the new healthcare environment and continue providing the quality and value which the Upstate community deserves, officials said.
“We need a structure that allows us to be competitive against larger systems such as Carolinas HealthCare System and Novant Health,” said GHS President and CEO Mike Riordan. “At the end of the day, our mission will always be to improve the health of our communities. This proposed structure will help us ensure that health care in the Upstate remains local, accessible, high quality and affordable in the years to come.”
GHS is exploring whether to create a multi-regional health system in which GHS and other healthcare entities could participate. Under the option now under discussion, the multi-regional health system would be governed by a newly created private, not-for-profit entity that would provide strategic oversight for the multi-regional health system with services and operations rendered through locally governed, affiliated entities. Riordan noted that many of the leading healthcare institutions in the United States, such as Geisinger Health, Intermountain Health, Sutter Health, Banner Health and Novant Health, are organized similarly.
As currently proposed, GHS would lease its facilities to a Greenville-based Upstate affiliate organization – which would be a not-for-profit entity – that would then be responsible for the day-to-day operation and delivery of healthcare in the Upstate. The assets would still be owned by the public body GHS, and GHS would have the ability to monitor and oversee compliance by the system with its agreements, including such things as a commitment to not-for-profit status, the provision of safety-net services, a commitment to the charitable mission of GHS, participation in Medicare and Medicaid and maintaining adequate health facilities and services in the Upstate.
The matter is expected to receive continued board discussion and scrutiny.
Meanwhile, the $2.2 billion operating revenue budget approved today will bring an additional 564 jobs to the Upstate. GHS now employs approximately 15,000 people. Most of the additional hires will be nurses, physicians and advanced practitioners such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners, as well as other clinical and support staff.
Improving patient access to health care – either through additional physicians and providers, expanded physician office hours or innovative community partnerships – continues to be one of the top priorities for GHS.