Wellmont Selects National Consulting Firm To Help Explore Strategic Options For Health System’s Future

Wellmont Health System has selected a nationally respected healthcare consulting firm to help the organization explore strategic options for its future.

Kaufman, Hall & Associates Inc. worked with Wellmont’s board of directors and management in 2013 to conduct an initial assessment, culminating in a public announcement in January that the health system was evaluating opportunities. Now, Wellmont and the company will take that examination to the next level.

Buddy Scott, Wellmont’s board chairman, said Kaufman Hall is an excellent company to guide the health system through this process.

“Kaufman Hall is one of the few firms in the country with the specific expertise needed to advise Wellmont in this exploration,” Scott said. “The company brings a breadth and depth of experience working with other health systems along with a working knowledge of the healthcare industry that will position us well to identify our best options and evaluate them carefully.”

A 29-year-old company based in Skokie, Ill., Kaufman Hall provides a full range of strategic and financial consulting services for health care.

“We help health systems view their current situations, processes and opportunities in a different light – and from a newly informed perspective,” said Ryan Gish, one of the company’s managing directors. “Our goal is to contribute our intellectual capital and insights to help strengthen our clients’ internal capabilities.”

Kaufman Hall has worked with clients in every state and been involved in some of the most significant healthcare collaborations that have emerged in recent years.

The firm began to see a challenging era for health care with the onset of the great recession about six years ago.  These challenges have been multiplied by the Affordable Care Act, the federal sequestration and the failure to expand Medicaid in certain states.

Kaufman Hall’s leaders say the success of any health system today will be measured by its ability to find resources and alignment needed to adapt to lower traditional inpatient volumes, emerging care models, new payment methodologies and the essentials of greater efficiency.

“Wellmont has been very proactive in looking at its strategic options,” Gish said.  “Consequently, it is still in the early stages of the process.

“We believe this work should actually be a very important reality for all health systems now. Healthcare organizations should identify their options based on their unique culture, marketplace and financial conditions and projections. Now that we have performed that work with Wellmont, the health system’s leadership has drawn a very important conclusion to move forward. We look forward to our continued work to assess Wellmont’s options for the future.”

Wellmont reinforced it has established a set of principles to guide the assessment. They are:

  • A strong commitment to Wellmont’s mission, vision, values and operating philosophy
  • Significant financial strength to advance medical, technological and organizational innovation and to develop new care models for the good of the patients and communities it serves
  • A contribution to long-term economic development, the advancement of healthcare services and employment opportunities in the region
  • A strong vision for the importance of philanthropy, good stewardship of donated funds and community benefit
  • Optimization of information and medical technology systems
  • A robust physician network and physician recruitment capacity and commitment to physician leadership
  • An extensive knowledge and resource base to optimize operational, financial, clinical and purchasing systems

Since its announcement in January, Wellmont has reiterated it has no forgone conclusions and is on its own timetable.

“As we discussed then, our current financial position is stable and we continue to do a great deal of work to position ourselves for success,” said Denny DeNarvaez, president and CEO.  “Our goals are forward-looking and connected to our vision to deliver the best health care anywhere. As we prepare for the future, we believe looking outside Wellmont for new resources and tools will position us much better to face some very strong headwinds of change.

“We want to be able to make investments in physicians, technology and care models that will continue to keep Wellmont at the forefront of care delivery. The communities we serve deserve nothing less.”