Kaiser Permanente, Emory Healthcare Collaborate on Integrated Care in Atlanta

By Roxanne Squires

ATLANTA — Emory Healthcare, the clinical arm of Emory University, and Kaiser Permanente publicized a new collaboration on June 13 that will brand two Emory hospitals as primary facilities for Kaiser doctors and patients in Atlanta.

Under the agreement, Kaiser will provide its nationwide model of hospital care to Emory University Hospital Midtown and Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital. The California-based nonprofit insurer, which operates 39 hospitals in other states, said it would be able to implement its hospital “playbook’’ for its members at the two Emory Atlanta facilities.

Dr. Jonathan Lewin, CEO of Emory Healthcare and executive vice president of health affairs of Emory University, expressed that Emory and Kaiser Permanente share similar missions and goals, which allows them to serve their communities and bring together the best of academic scholarship, research and patient care, as well as family-centered care.

Both Kaiser and Emory described their new-found partnership as a double win, with Lewin stating that it is a great business deal for both sides, as the two organizations accentuate their shared values in quality, innovation, education, affordability and service.

Kaiser Permanente and Emory plan to build off each other’s strengths, and will expand and improve their capabilities in population health management, ambulatory and hospital care, research and academics, and the overall health of the communities they serve.

The integration will begin in October, which differs from Kaiser’s current arrangement with Piedmont and Northside in that the insurer operated under the two latter hospitals’ guidelines with its patients there, Kaiser said.

Jim Simpson, president of Kaiser’s Georgia operation, said their combined focus will be to generate a premier, integrated care and coverage model committed to improving health and affordability for their members. This also includes better addressing health disparities, while collaboratively working to increase the number of people and communities who benefit from what their organizations can accomplish side by side.

Although the terms of the deal are confidential, Emory’s hospitals will remain under Emory’s control, and its relationships with other insurers won’t change as a result of the new collaboration.

Kaiser currently has 375,000 patients in Georgia and will maintain relationships with other metro Atlanta and Athens hospitals. The Northside hospital will also continue labor and delivery services for Kaiser members. Kaiser Permanente has already provided a capital contribution toward expansion of the two Emory hospitals to accommodate the new and existing patients.

The Midtown and Saint Joseph’s hospitals have added beds, operating rooms and other assets to anticipate the influx of Kaiser patients, Lewin said.

Emory Healthcare has seven hospitals and is in the process of adding DeKalb Medical Center in Decatur, Ga. Nationally, Kaiser Permanente serves more than 12.2 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Throughout the next several months of fully activating the agreement, Kaiser Permanente will focus on ensuring its patients continue to receive seamless, high-quality, affordable care. Emory Healthcare will maintain its existing relationships with all of its affiliated health plans and continue to serve their members and all existing patients without a change in service or access.

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