Memorial Hermann Healthcare System is a Texas-sized operation. As Houston's largest not-for-profit health care system, it includes a dozen hospitals (one is a children's hospital) with more than 3,500 beds and dozens of specialty treatment centers. The system also operates three managed acute care hospitals and a retirement community. Through Memorial Hermann Regional Healthcare Services, the company is affiliated with more than 20 community hospitals and health centers, most serving rural areas within 150 miles of the Houston area. Other services and programs include substance abuse treatment, home health services, air ambulances, medical training, and imaging; it also offers health insurance coverage.
In the insurance arena, the company's subsidiary MHealth provides health plans underwritten by UniCare Life & Health Insurance; it also offers administration of self-funded health care benefits and administers wellness programs. Memorial Hermann chose to start offering health care benefits as a way to help employers and individuals cut healthcare costs.
As Houston (one of the nation's largest cities) sprawls into the suburbs, so has Memorial Hermann. The system's facilities were previously confined to the downtown medical plaza, known as Texas Medical Center, and other metropolitan locations, but Memorial Hermann has branched out to serve the surrounding areas and now operates eight suburban hospitals.
Memorial Herman is also upgrading information technology systems at its facilities to provide consistency of care across its network. For instance in 2011 Memorial Hermann launched the first health information exchange (HIE) in the Houston area. Such systems are designed to let area health provider access a patient's medical history through electronic health records (EHRs) in order to make faster diagnoses and avoid un-necessary medical costs. The HIE is also a key part of Memorial Hermann's efforts to become an accountable care organization under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.
Partnerships with other area providers are another way in which Memorial Hermann enhances its service offerings. For instance in 2010, Memorial Hermann, radiation services provider Texas Oncology, and national cancer care firm US Oncology announced a plan to enter into a joint business relationship to increase the cancer care available at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center and Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital. – less