By: Dale King Contributing Writer
Capping a 14-month initiative, Boca Raton Regional Hospital has chosen Baptist Health Center South as a potential partner in a move to “accelerate and elevate” the hospital’s position as a preeminent academic tertiary referral center in South Florida.
The decision reached last month by the BRRH Board of Trustees concludes an effort begun in June of 2017 to explore the possibility of entering into a strategic partnership with another healthcare provider as Boca Regional moves toward the uncertain and undefined future of medical care.
Next steps in the scheduled tying-of-the-knot will include completion of due diligence and the negotiation of a letter of intent that would frame the completion of definitive agreements prior to Boca Regional joining the Baptist medical organization.
“We stand on the cusp of making a monumental transformation for Boca Raton Regional Hospital, a transformation that will serve to secure and cement our role as a top-tier healthcare provider for our community and our region,” said Christine E. Lynn, chairwoman of the Boca Regional Board. “I thank our Steering Committee for the critically important role it played in the partnership process and our board for its thoughtful stewardship of the hospital.”
Chaired by Dick Schmidt, former Boca Regional Board chair and noted civic leader and philanthropist, the Ad Hoc Partnership Steering Committee was chosen to scrutinize potential suitors. The panel, made up of community and medical staff leaders, trustees and volunteers, vetted a dozen prospective partnership wannabes before deciding to go with Baptist Health Center South, an association of 12 healthcare facilities from Miami north to Boynton Beach. It includes two nearby facilities, Bethesda Hospital East on Seacrest Boulevard in Boynton Beach and Bethesda Hospital West on US 441 in West Boynton.
The Steering Committee cut down on potential partners by applying stringent criteria and advancing recommendations to the Boca Regional Board for final discussion and decision.
Assessment of candidates looking to associate with BRRH included site visits among the respective organizations and vigorous dialogue and meetings involving medical staff leadership, senior executives, Board members and volunteers.
According to Schmidt, the committee found great synergy with Baptist from a programmatic perspective and strategic approach to the delivery of care in South Florida. “We are most confident we can reach a final agreement and that our inclusion in the Baptist system will make the whole of the new organization greater than the sum of its parts.”
“We are pleased with the Board’s decision to move forward with Baptist,” said Boca Hospital President and CEO Jerry Fedele. “While this was a most difficult choice, one that was between two of the finest healthcare providers in the country, our Trustees believe Baptist is the best fit for Boca Regional.”
In an interview several months ago, Fedele said the goals of the proposed partnership are to enhance Boca Regional’s ability to develop nationally recognized clinical programs to better serve the region, mitigate the challenges of a stand-alone organization in a complex and evolving healthcare industry and provide greater access to capital.
Baptist Health Center South and Cleveland Clinic were the final two under consideration on the roster that started out with 12.
Boca Raton Regional Hospital is an advanced, tertiary medical center with 400 beds and more than 800 primary and specialty physicians on staff. As defined by Johns Hopkins, a tertiary care facility specializes in consultative care, usually on referral from primary or secondary medical care personnel, by specialists working in a center that has personnel and facilities for special investigation and treatment.
BRRH is a leader in oncology, cardiovascular disease and surgery, minimally invasive surgery, orthopedics, women’s health, emergency medicine and the neurosciences.