Ensuring Marshall County’s Healthcare For The Future.

On October 1, 2018 Marshall Medical Centers and Huntsville Hospital Health System will begin an integration agreement that benefits both health systems.

Agreement to Facilitate $110 Million Investment in Marshall County's Healthcare.

Effective October 1, 2018, the Marshall County Health Care Authority (MCHCA) is entering into a strategic integration agreement with Huntsville Hospital Health System (HHHS) through which MCHCA and HHHS will co-manage Marshall Medical Centers’ operations and facilities. Under this agreement, MCHCA and HHHS are committing to invest over $110 million to fund capital expenditures at Marshall Medical over the next 10 years.

This new operating entity will be governed by the same local board and leadership who currently oversee Marshall Medical Centers, and the agreement provides new resources that will enable Marshall Medical to grow and operate more effectively in a rapidly changing environment.

Both Marshall Medical Centers and Huntsville Hospital are community-owned, not-for-profit organizations. We share similar missions of providing quality, local health care and reinvesting any proceeds we receive from delivering our services back into helping make our services better.

The combination of these community-owned health systems will provide additional assurance that Marshall Medical Centers will be able to meet the healthcare needs of this community well into the future.

A recent survey indicated that over 90% of U.S. hospitals anticipate pursuing some form of alignment or partnership in the next several years. Recognizing this trend, Huntsville Hospital has created a structure through which it works with area hospitals to retain community ownership of healthcare. The expansion of services in local communities throughout North Alabama equates to quality local health care and a greater ability for Huntsville Hospital to focus on the sub-specialty needs of our region.

We believe this proactive partnership positions Marshall Medical for continued success. It retains considerable local control while offering additional resources that will be necessary in the future. We are excited to have a new partner in our effort to ensure the best healthcare possible for the people of our community.

General Q&As

Is an affiliation necessary?

Marshall Medical Centers (MMC) is in sound financial condition and therefore not pressed to seek the assistance of a partner. However, the increasingly complex and uncertain healthcare environment is driving healthcare providers to join forces in increasing numbers. Marshall County Health Care Authority (MCHCA) has been evaluating for some time whether a partnership was in the best long-term interest of the community. Ultimately, the board decided being part of something bigger would better position MMC for the future. This is a proactive move to ensure continued success for Marshall Medical and the community it serves.

Why Now?

Marshall Medical has a long and successful history as an independent entity. However, increasing challenges will make repeating that success difficult. For example, Alabama has the lowest Medicare reimbursement in the nation, the third lowest Medicaid payments in the country and Marshall County has a high uninsured population. At the same time, the healthcare industry is increasingly complex. These factors make funding future capital needs, maintaining quality staff and recruiting physicians more challenging.

Why Huntsville Hospital Health System?

HHHS is the facility most often chosen by Marshall County residents for services not provided at MMC. Some may see HHHS as a competitor; we see them as a natural partner. Most compelling, however, is the fact that HHHS is a community-owned organization – like MMC. Being community-owned means reinvesting funds received from providing services to improve them. This was a very important factor in reaching this decision. The board considered other options, but felt a relationship with HHHS offered the best way to meet the healthcare needs of our community in the same manner those needs have been met for more than 60 years.

What Local Controls Are Retained In This Agreement?

The allocation of capital dollars and responsibility for quality and operations will continue to be managed by a local board of directors. Some functions – such as budgeting – will be the joint responsibility of the local and HHHS boards, but most of the authority will remain with the local board.

Does this change the ownership of Marshall Facilities?

MCHCA will retain ownership of all MMC facilities. However, HHHS will become financially responsible for operating the facilities going forward. MMC and HHHS will jointly fund future capital needs. MMC will also retain its debt and pay its debt service from existing tax receipts. Any excess funds will be used to supplement services at MMC.

What Incentives Does HHHS Have To Grow Services In Marshall County?

HHHS and MMC are jointly committing over $110 million in capital over 10 years. This investment alone is incentive for HHHS to grow services in Marshall County. HHHS will also be responsible for operating gains or losses of MMC. HHHS will have every reason to make MMC viable - and - being viable means expanding and growing services.

Will This Result In More Services Being Referred To Huntsville?

HHHS is often operating at full capacity, particularly in its specialty care units. HHHS hopes to assist communities – like Marshall – in retaining the patients for whom care can be reasonably provided in their own communities. This will allow HHHS to focus on taking care of the needs of Huntsville and the subspecialty needs of the region. We expect more patients will be treated locally rather than less.

Did MCHCA Consider Selling MMC?

Selling was never a seriously considered option. We were looking for a commitment to maintaining high quality services, reinvesting in our facilities and keeping services local. The arrangement is structured to accomplish these goals.

What Impact Will This Have On MMC Employees?

We have a great staff and there are no plans to eliminate MMC jobs. We hope to add jobs through growth in services rather than reducing any local employment.

What Impact Will This Have On Physicians?

All physicians, independent and those employed by MMC are key to the success of Marshall Medical Centers and the health of this community. The agreement should only positively impact the medical community as it will help to ensure we maintain quality services and the latest technologies. While we are gaining a partner in HHHS, physicians remain our most important partner in meeting the healthcare needs of this community.

Will The Name Change?

Marshall Medical Centers will retain its name. Sub-text will be added to the existing MMC logo - “An Affiliate of HH Health System”

Supplemental Q&A from the Foundation for Marshall Medical Centers

Will The Foundation For Marshall Medical Centers Be Retained?

The Foundation for Marshall Medical Centers will continue to be very important. Funds raised by the Foundation allow services to be provided in our community that insurance and government reimbursement (Medicare and Medicaid) do not fund adequately. Foundation support will be no less important under the agreement with HHHS. The Foundation will get a big boost from this transaction as MCHCA will transfer $1 million of its operating funds to endow programs at the Cancer Care Center. This will ensure cancer patients in our area receive services - like those available through Marshall’s patient navigator program – for years to come. This contribution highlights the importance of the Foundation going forward.

Will the mission of the Foundation for Marshall Medical Centers change?

No. The Foundation will retain its separate 501c3 status and its responsibility to develop the relationships and financial resources necessary to support Marshall Medical Centers and its mission of improving the health and well-being of our patients and their families.

Why will the Foundation still need my support?

Foundation support will be no less important under the agreement with Huntsville Hospital. While the affiliation adds to the financial stability of Marshall Medical, it does not solve all the challenges any community-owned, not-for-profit health system faces. Marshall Medical Centers will be jointly responsible for capital investments to grow services in Marshall County including more than $110 million in capital expenditures over the next 10 years. This will continue to take significant patronage and philanthropic support from within our own community.

What about the Foundation’s current assets?

There will be no transfer of assets from the Foundation to any other organization other than Marshall Medical Centers. In fact, The Foundation will get a big boost from this transaction as the Marshall County Healthcare Authority (MCHCA) will transfer $1 million of its operating funds to endow programs at the Marshall Cancer Care Center. This will ensure that cancer patients in our area receive services - like those available through Marshall’s Patient Navigator Program – for years to come. This contribution highlights the importance of the Foundation going forward.

What will happen to my donation?

Any donation that has been or will be given to the Foundation will be used as intended by the donor. All funds, including undesignated funds, will be spent locally at Marshall Medical Centers. All donations will continue to be tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law. The Foundation will carry on the work to raise funding needed to pursue programs and services for our patients and those dollars will stay here, in our community, and nowhere else.

What will become of the local foundation board of directors?

The existing Foundation for MMC Board of Directors will continue to function as the governing board and retain its ability to make final decisions about fundraising initiatives and methods.

Will the Foundation continue its annual signature events?

Yes! The annual Women’s Healthcare Luncheon, Pink Pumpkin Run, Winter Ball and Sporting Clays Classic will still be hosted. These events provide an avenue for the Foundation to raise much needed funding for Marshall Medical Centers to continue to grow and provide healthcare services to our area.

How will the Foundation for MMC work with Huntsville Hospital Foundation?

The two foundations will remain separate – if you support a Foundation for MMC project or event, it does not mean your dollars benefit Huntsville Hospital or vice versa. (Again, your donations intended for Marshall Medical Centers will remain local.) However, the Foundation for MMC will benefit greatly from this new level of affiliation with a larger and more mature hospital foundation. The two organizations have always worked well together. In fact, our largest fundraiser – the annual Pink Pumpkin Run – was tailored after Huntsville’s very successful Ribbon Run with the help and support of Huntsville Hospital Foundation. This new measure of partnership will allow for increased resources and an exchange of ideas that will enable us to maximize the impact of your generous donations.

Will my donor contact information and records remain confidential?

Absolutely. All donor information will remain strictly confidential and used only by the Foundation for Marshall Medical Centers.

What’s next?

It’s imperative that we maintain the deep local connections and relationships we’ve built with you over the last decade so that together we can improve the delivery of healthcare for our friends, family and our neighbors. It is our hope that this new and exciting affiliation will only persuade you to become more involved with our Foundation and that you will not hesitate to lend your support while we ensure Marshall County’s healthcare for the future.

Who can I call with questions?

Please contact Andrea Oliver, Director, or Jennifer Amos, Donor Relations Coordinator with any specific questions. They will remain the Foundation’s staff who will continue making connections with you and most importantly thanking you for your continued support of our community’s health!

Watch the video for Foundation Director Andrea Oliver's discussion of the agreement.

This video covers key details about the agreement in comments from Mike Alred, Chairman of the Marshall County Healthcare Authority and Gary Gore, CEO of Marshall Medical.

Download The Press Release

Find out more about our mission to support the health and well-being of our patients and their families.