UW Health, Meriter-UnityPoint Health to Expand Partnership
Madison, Wisconsin - UW Health and Meriter-UnityPoint Health have signed a joint operating agreement for obstetrics and neonatal services.
The new agreement, recently approved by the members' respective boards, went into effect Jan. 1, 2015, strengthening a long tradition of partnership around women's health.
The joint operating agreement will cover "mother-baby services" with a plan to operate as if a single entity, offering both patients and referring physicians unified access to care and a more seamless experience.
"We value the opportunity to join with Meriter-UnityPoint Health and combine the strengths of UW Health's academic medicine and patient- and family-centered care within a community hospital and a nationally ranked children's hospital," said Jeff Poltawsky, senior vice president of American Family Children's Hospital.
"This will allow us to achieve a future vision for coordinated care of women and infants. In addition to better care, this arrangement helps avoid duplication of services in the community - an important goal as we enhance quality, service and access while becoming more efficient in the delivery of care."
The partnership will be governed by a 10-member board with equal representation from UW Health and Meriter and includes representation of both independent and UW Health physicians. While each party will maintain complete ownership of its current assets, the new board will monitor quality and service performance, review and approve annual budgets, strategic plans and policies and procedures.
"Under this agreement, Meriter-UnityPoint Health will strengthen maternal and newborn care and also build upon our tradition of partnering with the community to coordinate care around the needs of our patients, truly putting them at the center of all we do," said Meriter Chief Nursing Officer Pat Grunwald.
"Families will benefit from peace of mind in knowing that they will receive the most technically advanced obstetrical, prenatal and newborn care through the collaborative sharing of top-notch resources in both Meriter and UW's facilities."
Meriter has the busiest birthing center in the state and a Level III neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU) that can provide life support to extremely high-risk newborns. UW Health's American Family Children's Hospital opened a 14-bed Level IV NICU in May; it offers a full range of pediatric medical and surgical specialists and can provide care for infants with highly complex conditions.
Meriter and UW Health already partner in providing care in the Meriter Birthing Center and NICU, Center for Perinatal Care, OB/GYN care in Meriter clinics and Generations Fertility Care.
Date Published: 01/14/2015