Dr. Marc Harrison, who will head up one of the largest nonprofit health systems in the nation now that St. Vincent Healthcare and Intermountain Healthcare have merged, visited with leaders and caregivers of St. Vincent Hospital in Billings Tuesday to share his vision for what’s ahead.
Harrison, the president and CEO of Intermountain Healthcare, says the merger will provide several advantages for patients here in Montana.
“Intermountain brings a lot to the table: spectacular tertiary and quaternary services, high-end oncology, high-end transplants-- those sorts of things. I’m not saying they are going to get done here in Billings, but access to those specialists seamlessly, I think you will see a lot more of that,” Harrison says.
Harrison believes the new organization should be the gold standard for how rural populations are cared for.
“We are eager to bring some of our digital and telehealth capabilities that we have employed so effectively across our historic footprint. Our focus is on keeping people as close to home as possible. It’s not to extract them from their communities unless they really need to go,” he says.
Harrison is recognized as a national leader in healthcare transformation. He comes from a line of doctors following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather.
“Historically healthcare has been very provider-centric. I think it needs to be, what do you need? What do you want? Where do you want to be seen and how do you want to be seen? Thinking very thoughtfully about how to change those paradigms—even aligning the way we are paid to keep you well rather than just treat you when you are sick. And when that happens it is magic. It’s powerful.,” he says.
For the most part, however, Harrison doesn’t see the merger creating many noticeable changes.
“I think day-to-day operations should stay the same and maybe even will add some services. We are not expecting to lose staff. in fact, this is about growth. We hope to retain all the people that work here in the Billings footprint and the Montana footprint, so I don’t think there will be any big day-to-day changes,” Harrison says.
The merger creates the 11th largest nonprofit healthcare system in the nation with more than 59,000 caregivers and 33 hospitals in Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and Colorado.