By: Dale King Contributing Writer
Boca Raton Regional Hospital and Miami-based Baptist Health South Florida are getting closer to solidifying a definitive plan to enter into a strategic partnership.
The two medical institutions announced last month they had reached an agreement on a formal letter of intent to join forces.
Officials at the two institutions said the letter of intent essentially serves as an “agreement to agree” between two parties; clarifies key points in the relationship and is considered to be an announcement that the two entities are moving forward in reaching a conclusive agreement.
Top-ranked leaders at the two facilities said they expect a definitive agreement between Boca Regional Hospital and Baptist Health will be executed by early 2019 and the affiliation should be finalized by summer.
This development marks an important step forward in structuring an agreement that will finalize the affiliation. “We are most pleased to have achieved this milestone in our discussions with such a prestigious and high quality healthcare organization,” said Jerry Fedele, president and CEO of Boca Regional Hospital.
“It is an exciting development for our hospital and our community and reflects the hard work and thoughtful interactions of our Ad Hoc Partnership Steering Committee, our board and Baptist Health leadership.”
Baptist Health is the largest not-for-profit healthcare organization in the region with 10 hospitals and more than 100 physician and outpatient locations from Palm Beach County to the Florida Keys.
“Like Baptist Health, Boca Raton Regional Hospital is a top-ranked organization with a not-for-profit mission and commitment to providing high-quality compassionate care,” said Brian E. Keeley, president and CEO of Baptist Health.
“We are confident that the synergies between our organizations will allow us to better serve our communities and increase access to affordable, high quality care for our patients,”
Boca Raton Regional Hospital first announced in 2017 its intent to seek a strategic partner. At the time, Fedele said that given the growing demand for its services, along with the hospital’s expansion of programs and facilities and improvement of financial performance, it was an opportune time to seek a partner that would help it sustain and build upon its commitment to accessible, affordable and high-quality care delivery throughout the region.
“Our goal was to use our success in recent years to attract other providers and establish a partnership that would enhance our capabilities and mitigate the challenges of a stand-alone hospital in a complex and evolving healthcare industry,” he said.
After issuing a request for proposals and receiving responses from some of the nation’s foremost healthcare systems, Boca Regional narrowed its list of suitors from 12 to five in the spring of 2018 and then selected Baptist Health South Florida for further discussions.
Assessment of candidates looking to associate with BRRH included site visits among the respective organizations and vigorous dialogue and meetings involving medical staff leadership, senior executives, Board members and volunteers.
“We have now advanced closer to a most important evolution for our hospital, one that will accelerate and elevate our position as a preeminent academic regional referral medical center,” said Christine E. Lynn, chair of the Boca Regional Hospital Board. “It will serve to secure both our goals and objectives and those of Baptist Health South Florida.”
She said Boca Raton Regional Hospital chose Baptist Health Center South as a potential partner in a move to “accelerate and elevate” the hospital’s position as a preeminent academic tertiary referral center in South Florida.
“We stand on the cusp of making a monumental transformation for Boca Raton Regional Hospital, a transformation that will serve to secure and cement our role as a top-tier healthcare provider for our community and our region,” said Lynn.
Boca Raton Regional Hospital is a 400-bed tertiary care medical center with more than 800 primary and specialty physicians on staff. As defined by Johns Hopkins University, a tertiary care facility specializes in consultative care, usually on referral from primary or secondary medical care personnel, by specialists working in a center that has personnel and facilities for special investigation and treatment.