Creighton University Medical Center's long-distance relationship has ended, replaced by marriage to a well-known local player.
The hospital on 30th Street became part of the Alegent Health system — now Alegent Creighton Health — at midnight.
The Creighton hospital had been associated with Tenet Healthcare, a national corporation that owns numerous hospitals. The relationship was uneasy, and the hospital failed to improve its position as a competitor in the marketplace.
Alegent now owns 10 hospitals in the area and is part owner of Memorial Community Hospital in Blair, Neb.
Creighton gives the Alegent system its first academic medical center, a place where medical students and residents train under physicians and nurses, many of whom are on the faculty at Creighton University.
“This is a really exciting time for us,” Alegent Creighton Health CEO Richard Hachten said.
Hachten answered questions late this week. He also introduced Kevin Nokels, formerly vice president and chief operating officer at Midlands Hospital in Papillion, as the Creighton med center's administrator.
The tenses in some questions and answers were changed to account for the fact that the transition already has occurred. Answers are paraphrased.
World-Herald staff writer Bob Glissmann contributed to this report.
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Q: How will patients notice a difference?
Nokels: They truly won't see a difference because it's operations as usual. We're learning how they operate, and Creighton hospital staff have been learning how we operate.
Q: How will staffing change?
Hachten: We have flexibility to move staff around, and whatever needs exist at the Creighton hospital, we'll work with managers to make sure their needs are met. Kevin will also bring Lynn Crowley to Creighton as chief nurse executive. She has served as operations leader of surgical services across the Alegent system.
Q: Will anyone be laid off?
Hachten: No. Staffing will be at the levels needed to provide safe, high-quality patient care. Some Tenet employees have been transferred by Tenet to other facilities, and some of those positions won't be replaced.
Q: What happened to Creighton med center CEO Gary Honts?
Hachten: We understand that Gary accepted a position with Tenet in California.
Q: When will signs change?
Hachten: You will see some signs changed today. On the east side of the hospital building, structural changes must be made to accommodate the sign, so that could take a few weeks. But Alegent Creighton Health signs will be erected outside the hospital and one 30-foot sign of our cross will go up. Some ground-level signs will remain, saying Creighton University Medical Center. (Sign changes also will gradually be made at clinics and other hospitals.)
Q: What renovations will occur at the Creighton hospital?
Nokels: It's too early to indicate that. We just have to get in and look at the needs. We'll work with the medical staff and others to see how best to meet community and clinical needs.
Q: You have said the Creighton hospital will stay open indefinitely. Can you be more authoritative or definitive?
Hachten: No. We still have not had the opportunity to get in and fully understand the operations there and how they will integrate with Alegent. It is premature to comment on what that may look like.
Q: So is “indefinitely” still a good term?
Hachten: That's probably as good a term as you could use.
Q: A Tenet press release in the spring said the sale price was expected to be $63 million. Is that accurate?
Hachten: It's close enough if you want to quote Tenet on that. It is not the purchase price. It's a very complex transaction. There were two owners of the facility. (Creighton University owned 26 percent, Tenet 74 percent.) We aren't privy to all the details of that partnership, nor should we be.
Q: What's the time frame for hospital employees to become Alegent employees?
Hachten: Eight hundred Creighton Medical Associates employees (CMA was a network of Creighton-affiliated physicians and support staff) became Alegent employees today. We've educated (Creighton) hospital employees about Alegent benefits, but we'll take another month to bring them on board. Tenet will provide payroll functions that we'll pay for in September, during the monthlong transition period as we bring the hospital employees on.