LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (August 29, 2017)— Baptist Health and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences have announced a statement of strategic intent, which reflects the two health care organizations’ commitment to offer a wider range of educational opportunities and deliver clinical care more efficiently.

The alliance will strengthen the two institutions’ collective ability to improve population health and care delivery across the state. This alliance is not a merger, as both institutions will retain their separate and unique organizational identities. The alliance and its components will be presented to the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees and the Baptist Health Board of Trustees for approval.

“Arkansas faces a wide range of significant health challenges, including obesity, cancer, heart disease, mental health and premature death,” said UAMS Interim Chancellor Stephanie Gardner, Pharm.D., Ed.D. “Through this enhanced alliance, UAMS and Baptist Health can better help address those challenges to improve the health and well-being of Arkansans.”

UAMS and Baptist Health are Arkansas-based organizations that share a vision of delivering exceptional clinical care and have executive leadership teams that are committed to this alliance.

"Collaboration is the key strength which will enable organizations like Baptist Health and UAMS to serve more Arkansans," said Baptist Health CEO Troy Wells. "The value of this alliance will be our collective efforts to improve health in a more deliberate manner to serve the needs of diverse communities."

The two organizations have worked together successfully and will be able to build on their ongoing experience of serving patients through multiple joint initiatives that include physical medicine and rehabilitation (early 1980s), vascular surgery (2013), maternal-fetal medicine (2017), and antimicrobial stewardship (2017), as well as emergency medicine and orthopaedics at Baptist Health Medical Center-Conway (2017).

In the education field, UAMS and Baptist Health will increase the number of students and other trainees by creating broader opportunities for teaching and learning. In the area of graduate medical education, Baptist Health and UAMS intend to launch new physician residency programs, beginning with internal and family medicine at the Baptist Health Medical Center-North Little Rock campus.

In the area of clinical services and population health management, the two institutions are evaluating ways to maximize existing and new resources to enhance health care quality, safety, service and access while reducing costs.

The newly formed Baptist Health/UAMS Accountable Care Alliance will coordinate effective, high-quality care for patients receiving Medicare, initially caring for 50,000 Arkansans starting in 2018. The alliance will work with Medicare to make sure health care providers have a more complete picture of a patient’s health to deliver the right care at the right time and avoid unnecessarily duplicating medical tests.

UAMS and Baptist Health also have been in discussions with Arkansas Children's, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and Bost Inc. about forming Arkansas Advanced Care to serve Arkansas Medicaid recipients with behavioral health and/or developmental disability needs. This year, the Arkansas Legislature established the Provider-owned Arkansas Shared Savings Entity (PASSE), a new approach to managing Medicaid costs for eligible individuals with behavioral health and developmental disability health issues.

Arkansas Advanced Care would be a PASSE organization that would seek to work with the state of Arkansas to provide more efficient care and improve health and quality of life for these patients. Establishment of this PASSE organization is also contingent on approval from the UA Board of Trustees and the Baptist Health Board.