Newport Beach, California-based Hoag Hospital seeks to sever itself from Seattle-based Providence, a large national not-for-profit Catholic health care system. Hoag desires to directly control its destiny so it can better serve the interests of the local community in Orange County. This comes along with the required litigation: the provider filed in Orange County Superior Court last Friday, May 1 by Hoag founders the Association of Presbyterian Members and the George Hoag Family Foundation seeking to dissolve its affiliation with Providence. Apparently tensions were building—perhaps COVID-19 pushed them over the line?
COVID-19 Magnifies Existing Problems
That the local Orange County hospital was already considering a move only was intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic as the recent crisis illustrated all the more the true constraints the hospital faced being part of the larger provider network, reported Robert Braithwaite, president and CEO of Hoag. He continued, ”Hoag must be able to keep local resources and decision making in Orange County to address all the health needs of community members for years to come.”
Things Change in the American Health Landscape
Initially, Hoag partnered with St. Joseph Health, back in 2012, to transform how health care was delivered in Orange County. At the time, according to the Orange County Register, Hoag believed that a partnership could help them achieve more scale, better quality and more reach. But when St. Joseph merged with Providence, the dynamics changed and the original intentions of coming together were not relevant anymore.
Providence Doesn’t Want to Let Go
Providence’s opinion differs drastically than Hoag’s as they believe a split could actually harm local patients. They issued a statement “Now, at a time when all hospitals and health systems are battling the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hoag leaders took legal action to sever its relationship with Providence for reasons that remain unclear.” The statement went on about Hoag’s move to sever, saying, “It could undo nearly a decade’s worth of enhanced access to high quality, dependable, affordable and compassionate care to the communities we serve, especially to our vulnerable members.” Hoag, of course, counters these points.
Hoag is actively conducting COVID-19 clinical trials and TrialSite News has a keen interest in providers. The focus here is more on research but from time to time we track the ongoing affairs of providers.