October 4, 2018

Readers Respond: Baylor Scott & White’s CEO on the Proposed Merger

by Chas Roades


Dallas, TX-based Baylor Scott & White Health and Houston, TX-based Memorial Hermann, two of the largest health systems in Texas, announced this week that they plan to merge. The combination would create a $14B health system that would rank among the nation’s largest not-for-profit systems, resulting in a 68-hospital system serving patients in more than 30 counties across Texas.

As part of the merger announcement, it was revealed that current Baylor Scott & White CEO Jim Hinton would become CEO of the merged organization. As it happens, Jim has been a close friend to Gist Healthcare, and is a regular reader of the Weekly Gist. We reached out to him via email this week to get his thoughts on the merger, which he shared with us below.

Jim Hinton, CEO, Baylor Scott & White

James H. Hinton is chief executive officer of Baylor Scott & White Health, the largest not-for-profit health system in Texas. In addition to his CEO role, he serves on the Baylor Scott & White Holdings Board of Trustees and the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas Board of Directors. Previously, Hinton served for 21 years as president and CEO of New Mexico’s largest healthcare provider, not-for-profit Presbyterian Healthcare Services. He served as the 2014 chair for the Board of Trustees of the American Hospital Association (AHA), which represents nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks and other providers of care through advocacy and public policy. Hinton has been named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare magazine in 2013, 2014 and 2017. Hinton holds a master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from Arizona State University and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of New Mexico.

Gist Healthcare: Memorial Hermann and Baylor Scott & White Health (BSWH) are both strong regional systems, successful in their own markets. Describe the rationale for bringing these two systems together.

Jim Hinton: As you know, the national healthcare landscape continues to shift dramatically. It is being reshaped by the convergence of high costs, changing consumer and industry expectations, rapidly-evolving digital innovation, and a surge of new entrants. We are two mission-driven organizations with century-long legacies of service and innovation. Texas ranks 44th in the country in overall health, and there are more uninsured in this state than any other. It is critical that our organizations proactively drive change, while growing our commitment to all individuals in the communities we serve. Together, we believe we can make healthcare more convenient and affordable for all.

GH: What complementary strengths and capabilities do Memorial Hermann and BSWH bring to the table? How will they make each other better? 

JH: Baylor Scott & White and Memorial Hermann share many of the same values and capabilities:

  • A long history as mission-driven organizations, founded as Christian Ministries, dedicated to providing healthcare to underserved communities.
  • A deep commitment to providing safe, high-quality care with an exceptional patient experience and the desire to share clinical practices to benefit patients across Texas.
  • The desire to improve access and continuity of care.
  • A strong commitment to clinicians and the physician experience.
  • A legacy of expanding access to medical education and research in Texas.
  • A history of developing successful and innovative care models that are accountable for the health of populations.
  • The desire to rapidly accelerate innovation to enhance safe, quality offerings, increase convenience and reduce costs for those we serve.

Texans need our two organizations to step up and deliver safe, quality, consumer-centric care as efficiently as possible, working to bend the unsustainable cost curve of healthcare in this state and beyond

GH: Bring this down to the level of a patient. What value will this potential merger create for patients and consumers? What might change, and what will remain the same? 

JH: The driving factor behind our proposed combined system is our intent to focus our resources on:

  • Increasing access to safe, high-quality, consumer-centric care;
  • Enhancing coordination of care for patients across the state;
  • Rapidly accelerating innovation; all leading to,
  • Making healthcare services more convenient and affordable for all patients and members we serve.

While we are still early in this process, we are excited by the difference we believe this proposed combined system could make in the lives of millions of Texans.

GH: How do you respond to skeptics who say that hospital mergers have delivered little value in the past? How could this combination be different?

JH: Five years ago, Baylor Health Care System and Scott & White Healthcare combined to create Baylor Scott & White Health. Since then the organization has achieved more than $700 million in cost savings, only growing its commitment to the patients, members and communities it serves. As we now propose this new combination between Baylor Scott & White and Memorial Hermann, we are again making cost reduction a priority. Texans need our two organizations to step up and deliver safe, quality, consumer-centric care as efficiently as possible, working to bend the unsustainable cost curve of healthcare in this state and beyond.

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