Two of Colorado’s top hospital groups have announced their intent to become partners in a merged health care system. The University of Colorado Hospital (a highly ranked academic medical center that is affiliated with the University of Colorado School of Medicine) and Poudre Valley Health Systems (which operates both Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins and Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, along with numerous community clinics in Northern Colorado) will be pursuing a joint operating system over the next few months.
The merger is expected to provide numerous benefits for both hospital systems, and will presumably make for lower total operating/administrative costs than they would have if they weren’t working together. As health care costs continue to climb, this should help both hospitals continue to provide quality care to their patients. It’s also reasonable to assume that the merger will be beneficial for UCH and PVHS patients, since access to both hospital system’s strengths will likely be available to patients in both Denver and Northern Colorado.
The joint operation of PVHS and UCH is likely to be different from many hospital mergers across the country in that both PVHS and UCH are strong, nationally recognized hospitals. This is not a situation where a strong hospital is absorbing a smaller, less functional neighboring hospital. Instead, both PVHS and UCH will each bring strong hospitals into the jointly operated system. Each will continue to control it’s own local operations under an umbrella of cooperation and partnership. This will fit in well with the health care reform visions that call for more cooperation and teamwork between health care providers, and will help to keep costs in check for two of Colorado’s top health care systems.