Integris Health owns a majority of Lakeside Women's Hospital after the two companies finalized an agreement Monday.
Leaders from both hospitals say they've discussed the purchase for about five years and would not disclose how much Integris paid for its 75 percent share of Lakeside.
Dr. Debbie Huff, one of Lakeside's founding doctors, said health care continues to grow more complex, and a “copartnership” with Integris gives Lakeside a more stable future.
“There is a lot of uncertainty in health care, and with the uncertainty, the timing seemed right to merge with an entity that we felt we could collaborate with and still provide the type of care that we want to provide and collaborate with them as well,” Huff said. “We think it's a win-win solution for them as well as for us.”
Huff said Lakeside Women's Hospital prides itself on patient-focused care. The facility, at 11200 N Portland Ave., has served as a specialty hospital in Oklahoma City for the past 15 years. Lakeside is partially owned by physicians and has more than 40,000 active patients.
Integris Health, a nonprofit corporation, is an Oklahoma health system that operates multiple hospitals across Oklahoma.
The entities within Integris maintain more than 1,900 beds and have medical staffs of more than 2,500 physicians, according to the company.
Integris hopes to expand its referral base with the purchase of Lakeside. Integris metro-area facilities and Lakeside Women's Hospital have a combined market share of about 29 percent, according to Integris data.
The company does not plan to change any of Lakeside's leadership, including Kelley Brewer, who will remain Lakeside's CEO, Huff said. Three Integris board members and three Lakeside board members will serve on Lakeside's board.
Integris President and CEO Bruce Lawrence said health care is growing more complex, and Integris and Lakeside's “copartnership” will help ensure both hospitals continue to serve Oklahoma, he said.
One of the challenges that hospitals and health systems are facing relates to changes in how they're reimbursed for Medicare, he said.
“With the Affordable Care Act, we know that all hospitals are going to see a reduction in what we're paid by Medicare for the provision of care for the Medicare population,” Lawrence said. “That's one of the big drivers that all health systems across the country right now are dealing with, knowing what those reductions are going to be and how we are going to address that.”
Huff, Dr. Laura Mackie and Dr. Susan Chambers are the three founding partners of Lakeside. They practiced together at Integris in the late 1980s, and over time, saw a need for a women's specialty hospital in Oklahoma City, Huff said.
“It wasn't that we didn't like Integris and they weren't providing good services,” Huff said. “They were, but their focus was on intensive care and cardiology and those specialties, and we were kind of waiting in line for them to push some funds into women's health.”
After about 10 years at Integris, the three doctors founded Lakeside in 1997. The hospital had about six doctors and 14 beds. Since that time, the hospital has expanded twice, gained more doctors and added more beds.
Huff said her decision on whether to merge with Integris has evolved over time. None of Lakeside's doctors are near retirement, and as they looked at the future of health care, they decided to begin the search for a partner, she said.
“We were approached by every hospital in the city over the course of probably five to seven years,” Huff said. “Different CEOs have called and said, ‘Could we meet? We'd be interested in a collaborative relationship,' and Integris was the one that was absolutely the best fit for us.”
Huff said patients should not expect any major changes at Lakeside. For example, Lakeside and Integris have the same policies on birth control, which will remain available at the hospital.
Lawrence said besides name badges and possible signage at Lakeside, patients won't likely notice any of the changes that Integris makes over the next few months. Most changes will relate to the administrative tasks and how the company runs its back office, he said.
“In our other locations across our system, we can learn from the policies, the procedures, the performance at Lakeside and incorporate similar types of approaches at our other hospitals where we're delivering babies,” Lawrence said.
“That's the great thing about the partnership. If you form a partnership with a strong partner that's got a proven track record, each of you can learn from the other, and we fully intend to be able to do that.”