Health Care: Partnerships
A Healthy Alliance - Johns Hopkins & All Children's
From its residency program to clinical studies, Johns Hopkins' acquisition of All Children's in St. Petersburg is starting to pay dividends.
In 2007, members of the board of All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg quietly began exploring a partnership with Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore. Over its 86-year history, All Children’s had evolved from a small charity hospital for children with polio to become the only freestanding children’s hospital on Florida’s west coast. The hospital had won accolades, including being named by Child magazine as Florida’s best children’s hospital, but board members wanted to crack the rankings of the nation’s top five children’s hospitals.
Dr. Jonathan Ellen, then vice chair of Johns Hopkins’ Department of Pediatrics and head of the Department of Pediatrics and Neonatology at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, said discussions of an affiliation quickly turned into merger talks. “Johns Hopkins said to All Children’s, ‘We think this is a great opportunity, but you’re going to have to actually give us your assets,’ ” says Ellen.
In April 2011, All Children’s officially became part of the Johns Hopkins Health System, one of the most prestigious names in medicine. In exchange for its brand and management expertise, Johns Hopkins got ownership of All Children’s and about $895 million in assets, including a new 259-bed hospital and power plant valued at $462 million, while also acquiring a revenue stream amounting to about $100 million quarterly. No money changed hands in the deal, Johns Hopkins’ first acquisition outside the Washington D.C.-Baltimore area.
Under the deal, the hospital’s staff remained intact, and community leaders in St. Petersburg maintained a majority of All Children’s governing board. Donations made to the hospital’s foundation also remain in local control.
Two and a half years later, the fruits of the “integration” — a term that both parties prefer over acquisition — are beginning to take shape.
All Children’s is well into its first recruitment season for a new pediatric residency program. The two campuses share infrastructure related to institutional review board procedures and clinical research, and studies are under way looking at everything from childhood obesity to pediatric strokes.
The hospital also has begun building a state-of-the-art repository for clinical and biological specimens — a broader pediatric version of Moffitt’s M2Gen project — that Ellen says will facilitate research and aid in the recruitment of top-notch physician-researchers.
There’s more growth on the horizon. Through a recent land swap deal with St. Petersburg, All Children’s has acquired a 1.5-acre plot nearby, which All Children’s executives say they will eventually develop to expand patient care, education, research and advocacy programs.