LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and St. Vincent Health System today announced they have entered into a nonbinding letter of intent to explore opportunities for an affiliation to deliver collaborative and or integrated services.
"As the state's only academic health center, UAMS' mission is to lead the way in improving the health and health care of all Arkansans by educating tomorrow's health care workforce, searching for cures through medical research and providing excellent clinical care," said UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D.
"An aging population; a shortage of physicians, nurses and other professionals; inaccessibility to care in rural areas; and the uncertain impact of health care reform are just a few of the challenges facing the health care system of the future," Rahn said. "If we are to meet those challenges, we must continue to develop and expand strategic affiliations with other health care organizations that share our vision and values to bring our strengths together to improve outcomes and efficiency in our services and expand training opportunities. We are excited about the opportunities a possible affiliation with St. Vincent could bring."
A collaboration between two of the state's premier health systems promises benefits for all Arkansans. The affiliation could lead to expanded opportunities for research, which can be translated to the bedside; increased training and educational opportunities for doctors, nurses and staff; and the ability to attract world-class physicians, nurses and health care professionals to the state.
"Health care is the economic engine for central Arkansas and the state," said Peter Banko, president and CEO of St. Vincent. "UAMS and St. Vincent have been neighbors for decades with a tremendous amount of cultural compatibility. It is the right thing to do and the right time for us to explore opportunities to improve access across the state, lower costs, enhance quality, train the best and brightest health care professionals, and bring to the bedside cutting-edge treatments and technologies."
UAMS and St. Vincent have been in discussion for the last several weeks and have been exploring various affiliation opportunities. Any alliance that is pursued will preserve UAMS' public identity and St. Vincent's Catholic identity, including women's and reproductive health care services. Entering into a letter of intent will facilitate the ability of UAMS and St. Vincent to review the other's financial and operational information. This review is conducted under the letter of intent's nondisclosure agreement, which ensures that each party can share informa¬tion that would otherwise be considered proprietary.