Project Overview

University of Florida Health Shands [UF Health] is an Academic Health Center in Gainesville, FL with several hospitals spread across North & Central Florida. In 2019, UF Health sought to strengthen an existing affiliation agreement with Central Florida Health [CFH], a 2-hospital system located approximately 60 miles south, near The Villages® retirement community, by acquiring the hospitals via a member substitution, effective January 2020.

Through this acquisition, UF Health planned to integrate CFH as a new division, capable of expanding the UF Health brand while furthering its mission to provide quality care to the residents of The Villages® – many of whom sought tertiary and quaternary care from UF Health. UF Health also recognized that strengthening a relationship with The Villages®, the fastest growing metropolitan area in the country, could serve as a strategic foothold in the increasingly competitive Florida healthcare landscape. For CFH, the acquisition promised community investment through the construction of a new hospital and access to UF Health’s academic, clinical, and research resources.

The Challenge

Although UF Health and CFH had been ‘affiliated’ since 2018, the systems remained distinct entities – each with their own boards, executive teams, operations, and cultures prior to the transaction.  UF Health realized that a successful integration wouldn’t just require fusing and streamlining operations, but would need to be predicated on collaborative partnerships across leadership teams and cognizant efforts to assimilate cultures.  To achieve this, UF Health engaged KCG to facilitate integration planning for the CFH assets.


The Solution

KCG collaborated with key stakeholders on initiatives designed to realize operational synergies and foster a united leadership team:

ESTABLISH AN INTEGRATION VISION & PROCESSKCG aligned executive leaders across integrating systems to develop a vision and guiding principles for the integration and the future of UF Health.  In addition, KCG established a formal, yet nimble, Integration Steering Committee to triage and respond to requests, as well as to manage the inevitable “noise” associated with a large-scale acquisition.

CONDUCT FUNCTIONAL AREA INTEGRATION ASSESSMENTKCG collaborated with functional area leaders to document the current state of their areas (e.g. Physician Operations, Revenue Cycle, HR, etc.) at both organizations.  Each functional area was evaluated on readiness to integrate with its counterparts, as well as on the potential long-term value that integrating the area would bring to UF Health.  This assessment identified critical activities necessary to support the integration vision and served as an overarching prioritization methodology for each functional area’s integration plans.

DEVELOP INTEGRATION OPPORTUNITY ROADMAPThroughout discussions with both leadership teams, KCG identified 98 tactical integration initiatives to improve clinical care, streamline operations, and deliver desired financial outcomes.  These initiatives were prioritized for implementation in a strategic roadmap, which set the foundation for UF Health to realize integration benefits in the short-, medium-, and long-term.  Finally, KCG stood up internal processes to enable the Integration Steering Committee to effectively review ongoing initiatives, unearth new ideas, and evaluate potential opportunities on an ongoing basis.

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About the Authors
Weller Emmons

Weller Emmons, Consultant, joined KCG in July 2019. He is passionate about helping health systems design strategies that drive sustainable growth and streamline clinical services. Notable projects include: the redesign of an AMC’s Board and governance structures to seamlessly integrate recent and future acquisitions, and facilitation of the centralization of Pathology/Laboratory services at a growing health system.

Prior to joining KCG, Emmons was a Manager in the Strategy & Innovation Group at Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), where he provided analytical insight to HCA’s competitive position across the enterprise.  In addition, Emmons advised several HCA hospitals on strategic planning processes to accelerate profitability via service line development, facility and access point expansion, potential M&A activity, and other sources of revenue generation.  In another role at HCA, Emmons served as project manager for a multi-hospital EHR implementation team.

Emmons earned an MBA from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University and a BE in Biomedical Engineering from Vanderbilt University.

Joseph Wechsler

Joseph Wechsler, Principal, oversees team delivery for all firm engagements and serves as engagement leader for many of our clients’ most complex initiatives. With over 15 years of experience in both large consulting organizations and the entrepreneurial environment, Wechsler has a unique ability to drive large scale, transformation initiatives and to manage and motivate diverse project teams. As an accomplished advisory leader, Wechsler’s core strengths lie in strategic planning and execution, project and program management, leading organizational transformation, and M&A integration planning and management.

Prior to joining KCG, Wechsler was a Manager in the Finance Advisory practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he focused on helping global companies link business strategies with more integrated sales and operations activities.

Wechsler earned an MBA from Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University and a BA in Economics Management and Spanish from Ohio Wesleyan University.