The University of Arizona Health Network has faced some challenges over the past few years, with several different CEOs and financial struggles. Nonprofit health system Banner Health is changing that dynamic with a 30-year academic affiliation agreement that will pair the private health system with the university’s community network.
Under the deal, Banner acquired University of Arizona medical campuses in Phoenix and Tucson, along with three health plans, and a faculty practice. Being that these are the only medical schools in Arizona, Banner believes that the partnership will allow the brand to have a tremendous influence on the way doctors are trained. Kathy Bollinger, executive vice president of Banner University Medicine stated that,
“What we're asking [today's doctors] to do is different from how they've trained. They have not been trained on the economics and the science of healthcare delivery. We're excited about being able to impact the medical school curriculum.”
The $40 million in annual funding will go toward updating facilities and ensuring that students are receiving a top quality academic education. By making these investments, Banner hopes that their medical programs will attract more physicians to want to practice in Arizona, which serves as a benefit to the current 1.6 million (and growing) people living in the state. The most recent Tucson and Phoenix graduates are currently practicing in Arizona, which makes it seem that Banner’s strategy of strengthening the workforce is effective.
Components such as the academic management council show that cultivating well-trained physicians is at the core of the agreement. From an enterprise standpoint, Banner does hope that that the merger will transform the company into a leading academic medicine brand. Introducing new insurance products and attracting existing physicians to join their network are listed as additional long-term goals.