Baptist and Regional One Hospitals plan partnership for first stand-alone emergency departments

August 12, 2015 – Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation plans to file with the state of Tennessee on Friday, August 14 an application for a Certificate of Need as part of a plan to open two stand-alone emergency rooms in east metro Memphis area in partnership with the Shelby County Health Care Corporation, which operates the Regional One hospital.  Technically the proposed new facilities are called freestanding emergency departments because they are not colocated with a hospital. Other medical businesses may be at the same location, such as clinics and doctors’ offices. Additional emergency departments operated by the joint venture could be opened in the future. Freestanding emergency departments are open 24 hours a day every day.

Regional One is a public hospital operated by Shelby County. Baptist is a private non-profit corporation.

The Regional One board of directors unanimously approved the plan Wednesday, August 12, along with the use of up to six million dollars for a forty percent participation in the two emergency rooms. The new facilities, if approved by the state, are planned for property at U.S. Highway 64 and Canada Road and some already owned by Regional One at 6555 Quince Road.

The partnership agreement is for 15 years but gives Regional One the ability to opt out earlier if certain conditions exist. While Regional One will hold a minority position in the joint venture, the facilities and promotional material will be co-branded with Baptist.

Regional One President and Chief Executive Officer Reginald W. Coopwood said the partnership’s two emergency facilities and perhaps future expansion into other stand-alone emergency departments are “projected to be very profitable for us.”

Baptist President and Chief Operating Officer Jason Little attended the Shelby County Health Care’s board meeting Wednesday and agreed, saying that the delivery of health care is becoming “very difficult” and one way to address it is to enter into partnerships with other entities, even those that compete for the same health care dollar in certain respects.

Coopwood told his board of directors there are more than 400 stand-alone emergency departments in the United States, including two in Tennessee, but none in west Tennessee. He said they were originally conceived to provide services to rural areas in the 1970s but recent trends are for them to be located in suburban areas.

Rick Wagers, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Regional One said his organization still had more due diligence to conduct before the agreement became final but that the public hospital’s administration feels “very confident” of following through with the partnership.

Baptist will take the lead in applying to the state for permission to establish the emergency departments and will be considered the host organization.

It was pointed out that Baptist has been very successful in previous requests for the authorizing certificate of need for its health care facilities.

Regional One’s administration said the state’s approval and other details will not be worked out before the board of directors meets again but expects to report back with that information during its October meeting.