5 takeaways from Optum, Bassett's partnership 8 months later

About eight months after announcing an IT and revenue cycle partnership, Optum and Cooperstown, N.Y.-based Bassett Healthcare Network's relationship has blossomed to shine a light on how rural hospitals are withstanding consolidation, Forbes reported Dec. 7. 

Five insights:

1. The partnership came as rural hospitals around the country were losing money. According to a Chartis Center for Rural Health report, 450 rural hospitals (46 percent) were in the red in February. 

2. Amid financial and staffing pressures, Bassett prioritized outsourcing functions that were not tied to direct patient care. The provider also pointed to Optum's ability to provide insights and technological innovations as perks. 

3. The partnership also balances bringing in support while maintaining autonomy, according to Forbes

4. Bassett President and CEO Tommy Ibrahim, MD, told Forbes that the provider's top priority was maintaining a high quality of care, not innovating technology or chasing revenue. It also lacked the bandwidth to capitalize on the information it had. 

5. "We had all of this data, but we weren't analyzing it to make decisions," Paul Uhrig, Bassett chief legal and digital health officer, told Forbes. "In terms of technology, we had to be able to bring in that expertise,"

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