Bournewood Health Systems of Brookline, Massachusetts, will broaden its continuum of care as a result of its recent acquisition by Alita Care, LLC, of Phoenix, Arizona, a national provider of behavioral health services with 16 differentiated programs across the country.
Alita Care announced its acquisition of Bournewood in March. In addition to Bournewood, Alita also serves as the parent holding company for Meadows Behavioral Healthcare – a drug rehab and psychological trauma treatment center with a main campus in Arizona – and Sunspire Health, a national network of addiction recovery providers.
Bournewood, Sunspire, and The Meadows all operate as independent brands within Alita. Clinical operations will not be impacted at Bournewood, which has been in continuous operations since 1884, and provides inpatient, partial hospital, and outpatient services for adults and adolescents with mental health and substance use conditions and their families.
Marcia Fowler, chief executive officer of Bournewood, said Bournewood is a very financially robust organization and that will continue, but the acquisition helps Bournewood to grow, rather than maintain, its services.
“We know there are more people who need services than are receiving services,” Fowler said. “What we are really excited about is that this allows us to really serve more people.”
Bournewood was privately owned, and in recent years one of the majority shareholders was Nasir Khan, M.D., along with his wife, Kay Khan. Khan was chairman and CEO of Bournewood, until he passed away in 2014. Fowler was then hired as CEO.
“A little over a year ago, we put together a strategic plan that really focused on improving the quality of care that we provide here, improving our environment of care and also to build out and broaden our continuum of care to other populations and to build out supports that would help people achieve the gains that they made in the hospital, in the community,” Fowler said.
Among goals was to expand partial hospitalization programs and help support people when they are discharged from the hospital or prevent unneeded hospitalization.
“We started looking for strategic partners that could help us realize that plan with the infusion of capital and the infusion of business expertise,” Fowler said.
It was a year-long search. “Ultimately, we determined the best fit was with Alita Care, primarily because there was a congruency of values,” such as an interest in evidence-based practices and sustainability of quality care, Fowler said.
“We found the partner that both shared the vision of values, and had the capital to work with us and help us expand,” Fowler said.
The Meadows and Sunspire both have very specific programs that are different from Bournewood, but the three systems share a commitment to excellence of treatment and evidence-based practices, Fowler said and will be able to share expertise.
“We’re looking forward to sharing resources, such as electronic health records, faculty to do training, and to improving staff training and expertise, both on the psychiatric side and the chemical dependence side,” she said.
Bournewood has already sent several patients to Sunspire’s Ashby, Mass., location for care. “So just by being under the same umbrella, we have the ability to expand our continuum of care,” Fowler said. Similarly, if people being served by Sunspire need services best provided by Bournewood, they can be directed to Bournewood.
“That helps with continuity of care and the sharing of information, so that there are warm handoffs and there is a broader continuum to help support people in their recovery,” Fowler said.
Fowler said as a small, independent hospital, the new arrangement helps give Bournewood some purchasing power around employee health insurance, supplies, and more.
“We’re all very different in terms of where we sit in the continuum of care, and we’ll remain very independent, but we’ll have the ability where it supports the mission of the organization to have some efficiencies, in purchasing in particular,” she said.
Fowler said clinical services and staffing will remain the same, but the hospital will be undergoing a “facelift” with some upcoming capital improvements.
By Pamela Berard