Virtua steps into a wider health-care spotlight

Posted: April 04, 2013

For all its size and strength in South Jersey, Virtua Health remains a community health system, leaving complicated care it does not do itself to partners and competitors.

But the nonprofit system, which had more than $1 billion in revenue last year, is showing signs of broader aspirations.

Virtua drew attention to itself as an economic driver in South Jersey Thursday, holding a meeting at its new Voorhees medical complex on "how health care is boosting the regional economy and beyond."

In the fall, Virtua is going a step further, presenting a "Healthcare Collaborations Summit" in Center City, an all-day event that promises to bring together national and regional leaders to discuss the major changes engulfing the industry as the country tries to trim the growth rate of health-care spending.

There is nothing unusual about the topics planned for the Oct. 4 meeting, which is being put on in partnership with Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, though promotional materials put Virtua in the lead position.

What is definitely unusual is that fact that a community health system like Virtua is presenting it, said Plymouth Meeting health-care consultant Gerald Katz.

He said it looked to him as if chief executive Richard Miller were positioning Virtua to "become a player on this side of the river," referring to Pennsylvania.

It's not a matter of Miller buying more hospitals with beds that are going to be increasingly empty in a future where more and more care is likely to be done in outpatient settings or at home, Katz said.

"It's about putting together a delivery system, which he can't do himself. He's got to be part of something bigger," Katz said.

Asked Thursday about Virtua's motivation for the meetings, Miller said: "It's trying to give a public awareness of" of major changes in health care.

"When you see consolidation, when you see the care model changing, here's why," Miller said.


Contact Harold Brubaker at 215-854-4651 or hbrubaker@phillynews.com.

 

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