Thursday, March 14, 2013

Putting a Potential Partnership in Perspective

Where We’ve Been: A Brief History of Fauquier Hospital

The first hospital in Fauquier County opened its doors on February 26, 1925. It was located in a former residence at 32 Waterloo Street, Warrenton. Garner House, as it had been called, had been purchased by the Fauquier County Hospital Association for $14,000 from Mrs. Frances Garner Grayson in 1924. By the end of 1925, a total of 344 patients had been admitted to Fauquier County Hospital, as the facility had become known. There were 184 operations that year and 57 emergency treatments. Twenty-two babies were born there that year.

From 1926 through 1938, Fauquier County Hospital did rather poorly. The tiny non-profit hospital could not compete with other area hospitals. For lack of support, Fauquier County Hospital closed in 1940. But in 1941, a group of local physicians formed a for-profit corporation and purchased the old hospital with the goal of reopening it. Physicians' Hospital, Inc., as it was called, reopened on February 13, 1942, and was successful. During the war years it remained full to capacity, and a 16-bed wing was added to handle growing demand.

Physicians' Hospital remained profitable until 1953, when once again it failed to stack up favorably against other larger hospitals. On January 29, 1954 its ten physician stockholders met and resolved to solicit offers for the sale of the hospital. Quickly a group of local citizens expressed interest in purchasing the hospital. In May 1954, the citizen group, headed by prominent local businessman and civic leader Tom Frost, signed an option to buy Physicians' Hospital for $70,000.

Frost would go on to become the driving force in the life of Warrenton's hospital for the next 15 years. It was, to a great extent, his vision that brought about the Fauquier Hospital of modern times. The plan Frost and his group had was to quickly launch a community fund raising drive to collect $110,000, adequate funds to purchase, repair and equip the hospital. Everyone involved pledged that no one would be refused admission to the new hospital.

Just ten days before the purchase option was to expire, the group was $32,000 short of its goal. With just three days left, the effort was still $26,000 short. But a wave of contributions came in during those last three days, and by the deadline, August 1, 1954, the committee had raised $112,000 -- $2,000 over the goal. In total, 1,090 donors gave to the campaign. On September 1, 1954, the new Fauquier Hospital Board of Trustees became stewards of the community's new hospital. Once again, the hospital served patients, and once again, residents all too soon saw the need to expand its footprint and the services it could offer.

On November 16, 1958, 2,500 people attended the dedication of a new Fauquier Hospital on Hospital Hill. The 71-bed facility featured air conditioning throughout, a 30-foot square lobby with an aluminum entrance canopy, and three distinct nursing wings. There was a radiology department, laboratory, solarium, doctor's lounge and meditation room. Everyone agreed it was first class and state-of-the-art. The community took a real pride in the new building. It had been built with tremendous community support, and countless hours donated by an army of volunteer supporters.

Other renovations took place over the years, but in 1999, Fauquier Hospital embarked on a new journey that created the hospital residents know today. A five-story patient tower was built, featuring beautiful single-patient rooms. The expansion was created using Planetree, patient-centered principles, and was the beginning of a new era. The expansion of the Emergency Department to 33 rooms; 11 fourth-floor rooms to handle more medical and OB/GYN patients, a new Infusion Center and interventional radiology suite are more recent additions.

Outside the hospital walls, Fauquier Health added a rehabilitation and nursing center, a wellness center, a wound healing center, and an assisted living facility, in addition to several physician practices. All have been guided by the same patient-centered principles, and all with tremendous community support.

The story of Fauquier Hospital is the story of Fauquier County and its residents. The area has grown, and so have its healthcare needs. As the health system’s board of directors considers a partnership with LifePoint Hospitals, residents’ needs are still at the forefront. The community built Fauquier Health. Through an equal-share governance agreement with LifePoint and a new charitable foundation, the community will continue to guide its future.

Source: Monument on the Hill by Peter J. Fakoury

Where We’re Going: A Message from the chairmen

For the past several years, the Fauquier Health Board of Directors has been investigating the possibility of partnering with a larger health system. Although no one understands yet all the ways that the Affordable Care Act will impact our organization, we do know that we will have to do more with less. Requirements for quality care and positive outcomes will be more rigorous than ever, and reimbursements for this enhanced care will be reduced.

Fauquier Health is strong enough to remain independent for years to come. We would survive, even with the increased demands of health care reform. But we don’t just want to survive – we want to grow and thrive. There are services that we would love to offer, specialties we’d like to support, but because we are a small hospital with a limited population base, we haven’t been able to stretch that far. With a large health system behind us, willing to invest in our hospital, we will be better able to meet our community’s growing needs. Fortunately, we have been able to examine our options from a position of strength; our balance sheet has never been better. We received national and regional interest offering a variety of opportunities.

LifePoint has a financial stake in nearly 60 hospitals all over the country. We have spent the last few months talking with LifePoint executives and with folks who work at LifePoint hospitals; we have been encouraged as we’ve seen with our own eyes and ears that our missions are aligned. We have always felt that our community is essential to the success of the hospital, and the hospital is crucial to the success of the community. LifePoint sees that too. Employees’ jobs will be protected, services will continue – in fact, with LifePoint’s increased resources, we expect them to expand. Also, the creation of a multi-million dollar charitable foundation is an integral part of the plan so we can continue to support healthcare needs in our area. The principal of this foundation is representative of the time and investment this community has made since the hospital's founding. Fauquier Health will be debt free, and the monies raised here will remain here.

Another key point is that partnership with LifePoint will allow Fauquier Health to retain equal governance - that means 50 percent of the Board of Directors for the new joint venture company will be representatives from our community. Our board wanted to make sure we could continue to help make decisions about the kind of healthcare we provide.

We are now entering into the due diligence process. Many details are still being finalized, but we are committed to open communication throughout this process. Please feel free to call 540-316-3588 with questions.

We understand that each of you has a stake in Fauquier Health. It’s where you come to welcome your children into the world, where you come in the middle of the night in an emergency and a place where your friends and neighbors work. We are sure that this partnership will allow us to remain the community hospital you have come to trust – only better.

Marshall Doeller, Chairman, Fauquier Health System Board of Directors

Karen Wachtmeister, Chairman, Fauquier Health Foundation Board of Directors

Caren Eastham, Chairman, Fauquier Health Senior Living Board of Directors

 Headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee.

 Founded in 1999, and has grown to a leading hospital company with more than $3.5 billion in revenues.

 Has a financial stake in 57 hospitals across the U.S., five of which are located in Virginia.

 Employs 28,000 and partners with 3,000 physicians.

 LifePoint is the sole hospital provider in most of its communities.

 In 2011, LifePoint became the only private organization in the country chosen by the Department of Health and Human Services to be a Hospital Engagement Network in the Partnership for Patients initiative, a nationwide public-private collaboration to improve the quality, safety, and affordability of healthcare for all Americans.

 LifePoint’s Mission: Making Communities Healthier

 LifePoint’s Vision: LifePoint wants every one of its hospital to be a place where:

• People choose to come for healthcare,

• Physicians want to practice, and

• Employees want to work.

 Five Guiding Principles: LifePoint was founded with five core guiding principles.

• Delivering high quality patient care

• Supporting physicians

• Creating excellent workplaces for our employees

• Strengthening the hospitals’ role in their communities

• Ensuring fiscal responsibility

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