Editorial: Partnership a long time in the making

February 14, 2014 

It’s no secret that the health care industry is in a state of flux. It has been for a long time. Doctors, hospitals and insurance companies have been engaged in a weird three-way dance with patients stuck in the middle.

It’s also no secret that Johnston Health some time ago announced its intentions to partner with UNC Hospitals. Now comes word that the legal types have completed their own contract dances and the partnership is official.

We suspect it will take some time for the two partners to get used to working with each other as the ground-level workers – doctors, nurses, supply captains and administrators – learn new processes and procedures.

But as that begins to come together, what we hope to see are better health care options for the people in Cleveland and the rest of Johnston County.

The new facility under construction between Cleveland and Clayton figures to be an important facility for people who live in our area and we expect a focus on good customer service and an effort by the health care system to take care of its patients in a financial sense.

We know profit margins in the health care industry are sky high, in part, because most people don’t have options when it comes to who their health care provider is.

When one it really sick, one visits the health care center that’s closest to where they are, regardless of who is partnering with whom and what the bill might look like. Margins are also high, in part, because hospitals are working to bring the referral systems in house.

Go to your family doctor and if you need to see a specialist, he or she is likely to refer you to a specialist under contract to the same hospital system. It’s quite the business scheme.

But if both sides of this new partnership will focus on providing good care at a reasonable price, we believe the partnership can be successful for everyone – the partners and patients alike.

Time will tell.

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