For years, Memorial Hospital has contracted with the South Bend Medical Foundation for it's lab testing. The last contract ended in December of 2006, and after an agreement wasn't reached then, a new deadline was extended until July. Now, time is running out on that negotiation deadline.
For decades, the South Bend Medical Foundation and Memorial Hospital have enjoyed a close proximity when doing business together. The two parties are still trying to reach an agreement on lab tests and the costs. Memorial Hospital officials say they'll save as much as four million dollars a year by doing some of the lab services in house.
Memorial has plans to open a core (standard testing) lab and blood bank of it's own, though they still want to work with South Bend Medical Foundation for other lab tests. Meantime, the president of South Bend Medical Foundation doesn't think the hospital should be able to pick and choose which tests they want from the Foundation. Foundation President, Dr. Luis Galup, says they're a non-profit and the prices of their services reflect their high quality. Memorial Hospital officials are hopeful that an amicable agreement can be reached.
“I hope that we can continue to use our reference labs and their anatomic pathological services. We worked with them well and I think there is some potential to have a good relationship on those two avenues,” says Dr. Cheryl Wibbens of Memorial Hospital.
“Right now, we do all the lab services for them, they don't have to worry about personnel, equipment, supplies, training,” says Dr. Galup.
Again, negotiations are continuing between the South Bend Medical Foundation and Memorial Hospital this week. This afternoon, Dr. Galup received a contract offer from Memorial and is looking that over.