"You want to establish that you are moving forward," he says. "That is an inside-outside announcement: inside to reassure their people that they're doing what they need to do for success, and outside to say 'we a full-service provider.'"
The Baylor/Scott & White merger has no geographic overlap. Separately, the two systems are not natural competitors. However, Scott & White has an integrated health plan that, if extended to include Baylor facilities in Dallas, could provide critical savings through improved market share, vertical integrations and the elimination of "double marginalization" that comes when both payers and providers attempt to make a profit.
"Our new organization will not only prepare us for healthcare reform, but will help drive and shape what healthcare delivery in this country will become," Robert Pryor, MD, president/CEO of Scott & White Healthcare, said in prepared remarks last month.
"Scott & White has been recognized as a national leader for our strong physician-led population health model. Our shared vision with Baylor is to build upon our unique approach and create an innovative healthcare delivery model enhanced by medical education and research."
Self says comments by leadership in the two rival systems signal that they are positioning themselves to protect their mission interests and financial interests "before the real battle begins."