Six health systems form human resources partnership

The providers are coming together in the newly formed Evolve Health Alliance. Officials say they will help each other with staffing needs and exchange ideas to improve operations.

A new partnership’s origins can be traced to the surge of patients in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Northwell Health and Intermountain Healthcare worked together to help each other meet staffing needs as coronavirus patients packed hospitals. Intermountain sent 48 staff members to help Northwell, and Northwell later sent staff to aid Intermountain.

That was just the beginning. Now, the two systems and four other healthcare organizations are coming together in a broader partnership to address human resources needs.

The six organizations have formed what they’ve dubbed the Evolve Health Alliance. Initially, they said they aim to help each other with staffing needs, collaborate on ways to improve the well-being of employees, and bolster diversity and inclusion efforts.

The providers said the new partnership is designed to strengthen the organizations and lead to better patient care.

The members of the alliance are: AdventHealth in Florida; Atrium Health of Charlotte, N.C.; Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, Mich.; Intermountain Healthcare, Salt Lake City, Utah; Northwell Health in New York; and OhioHealth, Columbus, Ohio.

Heather Brace, senior vice president and chief people officer of Intermountain Healthcare, also serves as co-chair of Evolve Health Alliance. Healthcare organizations should collaborate to navigate a changing landscape, she said.

“We know this alliance will help us evolve policies, practices and initiatives that ultimately benefit our patients and the communities we serve,” Brace said in a news release.

Maxine Carrington, senior vice president and chief people officer at Northwell Health, and the other co-chair of the alliance, said she’s looking forward to working to “push health care boundaries to meet our goals.”

“Health systems around the country relied on each other’s expertise during the pandemic in ways we had not experienced before,” Carrington said in the news release. “We knew clinically that we were stronger together in advancing patient care, but we also recognized the benefit of collaborating with innovative and like-minded health systems to better prepare our workforces for the future.”

The systems plan to develop initiatives aimed at focusing on maintaining the health and well-being of employees. They also plan to share data on how operations can be refined.

The healthcare organizations plan to team up on leadership development programs involving clinical and non-clinical staff. They envision staff members being able to get training at all the organizations in the partnership, the news release said.

The officials said the alliance will exchange ideas and practices that will strengthen all the member organizations.

The healthcare industry is increasingly competitive, but the COVID-19 pandemic has motivated systems to work together in novel ways.

As cases began surging in December, Ohio hospital systems came together and jointly announced they were pausing non-urgent surgeries to save resources. In Minnesota and elsewhere, hospitals came together in joint public relations efforts to urge residents to get the COVID-19 vaccines, saying their facilities were packed and their staff were exhausted.