Boone Hospital Center became an independent health care organization Thursday after 32 years as part of the St. Louis-based BJC HealthCare system.
The contract between BJC HealthCare and Boone Hospital Center trustees expired at the end of 2020. The official separation was originally intended to take place Jan. 1, but the transition date was pushed to April 1 because of the pandemic.
“Under the management of BJC HealthCare, Boone became synonymous with quality health care,” said Jerry Kennett, chair of the board of trustees, in a news release. “Being a part of BJC HealthCare has helped prepare Boone to be a successful independent health care provider, and we thank them for their leadership.”
Boone Hospital Center began looking for management options in the spring of 2016. After mutually agreeing to end BJC’s lease, the hospital considered several partnership possibilities before ultimately deciding to become independent.
Separating from BJC after three decades was “a monumental task,” according to the news release.
In the last 12 months, the hospital has transitioned more than 150 software applications, including a new electronic health record system called Meditech. At least 160 employees have been hired to fill roles previously handled by BJC.
The “go-live” transition period required 25,000 patient appointments to be added manually to the new health record system and the replacement of 2,400 computers.
More than 180 support staff from a number of vendors have been at the hospital during the transition to help smooth the process, according to the release.
“The effort put forth by Boone employees and BJC HealthCare employees to ensure a smooth transition has been extraordinary,” said Troy Greer, CEO of Boone Health, in the news release. “I have been so impressed by the dedication of our team and their willingness to do whatever it takes to make Boone Health great. There is no doubt that we are on the path to becoming a successful independent health care provider focused on the needs of our local community.”
The agreement to part ways with BJC prompted Boone Hospital to consider and evaluate partnership options with MU Health Care, Saint Luke’s Health System and Duke LifePoint Healthcare.
BJC had told trustees in 2016 that a partnership with MU Health Care would be in Boone’s best interest.
In August 2017, the trustees began exclusive, nonbinding negotiations with MU Health Care to explore a partnership. But, two years later, the trustees announced that Boone Hospital Center would transition to a locally controlled, independent community hospital instead.
Boone Hospital Center trustees chose this option for the flexibility local control would provide. This would facilitate “creating partnerships with local physicians and other health care providers and the ability to reinvest profits into patient care,” the Missourian reported.
During this process, Boone Health became an umbrella organization with an 11-member board that will manage Boone Hospital Center, Boone Home Care and Hospice and Boone Medical Group.