Management companies make their pitches to BRH board

New management at Juneau's Bartlett Regional Hospital? Possibly. (Photo by Casey Kelly/KTOO)

For the first time in 14 years, the board of directors for Juneau’s Bartlett Regional Hospital is using a competitive bid process to select a management company.

The board tonight (Monday) will hear presentations from three firms that responded to a June request for proposals. Tennessee-based Quorum Health Resources has managed the city-owned hospital since 1997, and is seeking a new contract. It’s joined by Kentucky-based Alliant Management Services and PeaceHealth, headquartered in the Seattle area.

Last year, Quorum came under fire from some Bartlett employees, who said the local management team fostered “a culture of fear” at the hospital. But Bartlett Board Chair Kristen Bomengen says the criticism wasn’t the driving force behind the decision to use a competitive bid process.

“Once you’ve worked with one company for so many years, it’s only appropriate to go out and re-bid. And so, in any case we would have been going out to receive more statements of interest,” Bomengen says.

All the bidders have decades of health care experience. Quorum is the largest hospital management company in the country, and operates the Sitka Community Hospital in addition to Bartlett. Alliant’s hospitals are clustered in Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky. And PeaceHealth has six hospitals in the Pacific Northwest, including Ketchikan Medical Center.

Under its current contract, Quorum is paid between 350-thousand and 400-thousand dollars a year. The amount is tied to the Consumer Price Index. But Bomengen says the board won’t just look at cost when deciding on a management company.

“We want to make certain that we have management advice from people who are tracking what changes we’re going to be looking at in the health care industry. We would like to see an understanding of Juneau’s circumstances,” says Bomengen. “We’re interested in the kind of expertise that they’ll be able to deliver. One of the things we do through our management services contract is a lot of our purchasing and we try to get the best value for medical equipment and ongoing medical supplies.”

All three companies have representatives in Juneau for today’s meeting, which starts at 3:30 p.m. in the hospital boardroom. Bomengen says an hour and 15 minutes has been set aside for each presentation, which will be open to the public. The board may go into executive session to discuss financial aspects of the bids. An offer is tentatively scheduled to be made to one of the companies at the end of the meeting.

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