I am often asked why Baylor Health Care System and Scott & White Healthcare merged in 2013. Like many big ideas, it had simple beginnings.
Believe it or not, it actually began with a discussion over breakfast that eventually led to the board approving the merger. Dr. Bob Pryor, now the president, chief operating officer and chief medical officer of Baylor Scott & White Health and I began talking before a Healthcare Coalition of Texas board meeting one morning a few years back about the similarities between our two organizations. We realized that we shared like-minded missions, values and visions for the future of health care in the communities we served. And we believed together, we would be better positioned to achieve improved health care for Texas and beyond. Now, one year after the close of the largest hospital system merger in Texas history, we can take our first look back on what we promised and what we have so far achieved.
We said our merger would: increase patients’ access to quality care; create greater community benefit; invest more into the communities we serve; advance population health initiatives and increase focus on keeping people healthy. Today, while our new organization is still in its infancy, we can already validate we have begun making progress on each and every one of these commitments.
By coming together, Baylor Scott & White Health now serves a population larger than the state of Virginia through 49 hospitals, more than 800 access points, more than 5,800 affiliated physicians and 35,000-plus employees. Our legacy systems also reported community benefit figures that, when combined, totaled $861 million.* These dollars were dedicated to areas including charity care, community education programs, prevention screening events, medical education and research. And some of our most publicized accomplishments have been achieved by our population health strategy. The new Baylor Scott & White Quality Alliance, our accountable care organization, is now one of the largest in the nation based on physician participation and has proven successful at managing the health of populations. In fact, in the past year it accomplished a $13.9 million savings in budgeted health care costs for the Baylor Health Care System employees and their dependents.
From the beginning, our leaders moved quickly to ensure the merger yielded tangible benefits. And in the past year, we have integrated most corporate functions, began clinical integration and identified an impressive $39 million in efficiencies. Baylor Scott & White physicians are committed to learn from each other’s best practices, improving the overall quality of care and experience for the millions of patients across this state who count on us.
We are on a journey. We are growing as well as integrating. We continue to add and seek collaborators and partners. Being a truly integrated delivery network is our goal for the future. And at each milestone, we are proving this merger was the right thing to do for the communities and patients we serve.
*Calculated for Baylor Scott & White not-for-profit hospitals in accordance with Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 311.