WVU Health System, Health Plan to form network

PARKERSBURG — West Virginia University Health System, operators of the WVU Medicine brand, and The Health Plan, a managed care organization headquartered in Wheeling and operating throughout West Virginia, are forming a fully integrated healthcare delivery and financing system in West Virginia.

The partnership was announced earlier this week.

“This new partnership and alignment is a homegrown way to care for West Virginians more effectively and efficiently,” Albert L. Wright Jr., president and chief executive officer of West Virginia University Health System, said. “By aligning and integrating our two organizations and by leveraging our respective expertise in a more coordinated fashion, we can deliver better outcomes to the people of West Virginia. The Health Plan will also continue to build collaborative, value-based partnerships with other health systems and independent providers in West Virginia.”

The goal is to improve the health of all West Virginians through access to a coordinated and seamless system of care providing the highest quality of care in the most efficient and affordable manner possible. Examples of fully integrated healthcare delivery systems include Geisinger in Danville, Pa., Baylor Scott & White Health in Dallas and Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif.

Through this new and fully integrated network, The Health Plan will become a member and subsidiary of the West Virginia University Health System, but will continue to operate as a community-based, not-for-profit corporation. Studies have found that establishing a fully integrated network such as this can help the U.S. healthcare system achieve the triple aim of healthcare reform: providing better quality care at a lower cost while focusing on population health.

“This is the marriage of two great West Virginia brands that want to come together with the shared vision and goal of creating a healthier West Virginia,” Jim Pennington, president and chief executive officer of The Health Plan, said. “When you align and integrate both the provider and payor around specific and measurable outcomes related to health, we believe we will see significant improvements.”

The specific terms of the partnership are subject to the approval of the boards of both organizations. Prior to the final approval by the respective governing bodies, the two organizations will be engaged in an extensive due diligence process.

The West Virginia University Health System, the state’s largest health system and largest private employer, is comprised of nine hospitals: West Virginia University Hospitals in Morgantown, Berkeley Medical Center in Martinsburg, Braxton County Memorial Hospital in Gassaway, Camden Clark Medical Center in Parkersburg, Jefferson Medical Center in Ranson, Potomac Valley Hospital in Keyser, Reynolds Memorial Hospital in Glen Dale, St. Joseph’s Hospital in Buckhannon and United Hospital Center in Bridgeport. It also provides management services to Summersville Regional Medical Center in Summersville, Wetzel County Hospital in New Martinsville, Jackson General Hospital in Ripley, and Garrett Regional Medical Center in Oakland, Maryland. The WVU Health System also includes five institutes — the WVU Cancer Institute, the WVU Critical Care and Trauma Institute, the WVU Eye Institute, the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, and the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute.

The Health Plan is a clinically driven, technology-enhanced, and customer-focused health maintenance organization that manages and improves the health and well-being of its members. Established in 1979, the West Virginia-based company, with offices in Wheeling, Charleston and Morgantown, West Virginia and Massillon, Ohio has offered a complete line of managed care products and services designed to provide health care systems and clients with innovative health care benefits and plans at a reasonable cost across the mid-Atlantic region and nationally.

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