“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.”