By Nikki Ciecierski
Kaiser Foundation Hospitals has established Risant Health, a nonprofit organization that aims to broaden and accelerate the acceptance of value-based healthcare in diverse, community-based health systems with multiple payers and providers. According to a press release from Geisinger, upon regulatory approval, Geisinger becomes part of the new organization through acquisition.
During a Zoom media conference, Geisinger CEO Jaewon Ryu said that the regional healthcare system plans no major short-term changes. Expansion projects will continue and there are no plans for immediate layoffs, he said.
Geisinger will continue to invest in current and new facilities, services, and technologies to keep its communities healthy and allow it to accelerate and expand its impact to more communities across Pennsylvania and beyond.
Geisinger’s facility at Gray’s Woods is in the midst of ongoing expansion with construction slated for 2023 and later phases planned for 2027 and 2037. A Geisinger 65 Forward opened in State College in 2022 to serve seniors.
“Risant Health is designed to enable its health systems to continue to operate as regional or community-based health systems serving and meeting the needs of their communities, providers, and health plans while gaining expertise, resources, and support through Risant Health,” Don Stanziano, Geisinger's Chief Marketing and Communication Officer, said in a statement. “Geisinger’s headquarters will remain in Danville, Pa. Geisinger will continue to invest in current and new facilities, services, and technologies to keep its communities healthy and allow it to accelerate and expand its impact to more communities across Pennsylvania and beyond.”
Risant Health's vision is to “enhance the well-being of millions by enhancing accessibility to value-based healthcare and insurance while setting higher standards for value-based methodologies that prioritize quality patient outcomes.”
While the press announcement didn’t define values-based healthcare, during the conference, Ryu referenced Geisinger’s longtime commitment to “total health” when asked to offer more details. “It’s more valuable to the patient, the community and their employer,” he said.
An article in the New England Journal of Medicine defines value-based healthcare as “a healthcare delivery model in which providers, including hospitals and physicians, are paid based on patient health outcomes. Under value-based care agreements, providers are rewarded for helping patients improve their health, reduce the effects and incidence of chronic disease, and live healthier lives in an evidence-based way.”
It’s going to be a big investment by Kaiser/Risant into Geisinger, and that’s certainly a good thing.
John Ash, Misericordia University assistant professor in business and healthcare administration program director told the Wilkes Barre Times-Leader, “I’m hopeful the Geisinger-Kaiser initiative will help create a footprint, a trail on how we handle health care.” He noted that Kaiser and Geisinger share similar approaches in their emphasis on prevention and home health services.
Justin Matus, Associate Professor at Wilkes University’s Sidhu School of Business & Leadership pointed to another similarity in the Times-Leader interview. “It’s about investing in innovation,” he said. “Not just equipment, but also big data, data analysis and all the tech to support that. And I don’t want that to come across as a criticism. It’s going to be a big investment (by Kaiser/Risant) into Geisinger, and that’s certainly a good thing.”
Geisinger has touted its commitment to innovation. During the Zoom conference, Ryu touched on Geisinger’s use of Artificial Intelligence to better identify patient needs and deliver care faster.
We believe by working together, we will reach new heights in healthcare and raise the bar for better health for all communities.
This announcement comes at a time when health systems across the country are looking for new ways to collaborate, share resources to improve patient care and reduce costs. By partnering with other health systems through Kaiser Permanente, which reported revenue of $95.4B in 2022, in the new organization Risant Health, Geisinger says it is positioning itself as a leader in this new era of healthcare collaboration.
"Geisinger is excited for what joining Risant Health will mean both for our system and for the communities we serve in Pennsylvania," Ryu said. "Kaiser Permanente and Geisinger share a vision for the future of healthcare, and as the Risant Health name indicates, we believe by working together, we will reach new heights in healthcare and raise the bar for better health for all communities," he added.
Geisinger will maintain its name and mission and will continue to work with other health plans, employed physicians, and independent providers.
In addition to Gray's Woods and Scenery Park, Geisinger operates a multi-specialty clinic in Philipsburg, primary care clinics in Bellefonte and Patton Forest and convenient care clinics in State College and Bellefonte. And that’s just in Centre County — there are 27 Geisinger care centers within 25 miles of Happy Valley that include cancer care, Geisinger Lewistown Hospital and Geisinger Primary Care Huntingdon.