With the nation in the midst of the largest health reform since the advent of Medicare/Medicaid, we will undoubtedly see more public-private partnerships in the health care arena.
Let me tell you how a similar partnership is working for psychiatry in central Pennsylvania.
Two years ago, Penn State Hershey Medical Center (HMC) created a brand- new not-for-profit entity in partnership with Pinnacle Health, also a not-for-profit. Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute (PPI), serves provides in-patient and out-patient services for patients in the Harrisburg area and across a large swath of central PA.
Of course there were hurdles. It’s never easy to get Medicare certification for a new organization, for example. But some hurdles were avoided by wise planning. For instance, PPI’s board is made up equally of Hershey Medical Center, Pinnacle Health, and community leaders. That balance is reflected in the balanced strategic planning and tactical interventions required of the organization. (Full disclosure: I sit on the board). And another huge plus: both HMC and Pinnacle were willing to losing several million dollars during the initial phases of start-up, demonstrating a true commitment to the treatment of the mentally ill.
Is the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute out of the woods? Certainly not yet, and perhaps not as long as doctors and hospitals try to survive the age of slim reimbursement. But so far, so good. It’s a very promising partnership, and one that may serve as a model for others. I, for one, am delighted to be part of the team, bringing teaching and research to a system that seeks to provide state-of-the-art care.