BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – After several months of delayed announcements on the status of Great River Health Systems’ increased presence in Fort Madison, an announcement was made Friday that FMCH is looking into a possible merger with GRHS.
FMCH interim CEO Jeremy Alexander said today that after six months of evaluating the hospital’s position as a healthcare provider in southeast Iowa, the hospital will be exploring possible merger opportunities with Great River Health Systems.
A statement was released today by officials at both locations indicating a diligence phase is now underway in the evaluation of the merger.
“This will be two historically competitive organizations exploring the idea of creating an alliance – the greatest opportunity our communities have ever had in solidifying a foundation upon which all of our patients can receive comprehensive, coordinated care long into the future,” said FMCH President and CEO Jeremy Alexander. “It would also create an environment friendly to new and exciting specialties.”
Alexander said Friday that he expects the diligence part of the merger proposal to take three to six months.
“Typically these sort of things, as far as diligence goes, take about that amount of time, but my inclination or my thoughts would be that it will be on the long end of that. I would suspect 6 months,” he said.
“Right now we’re just letting folks know that we are talking to each other in an official capacity. Hopefully we’ll find all these wonderful synergies and that won’t happen until this work is done.”
The agreement was a decision by the boards of directors at both organizations. The evaluation begins as 20-year Great River Health System President and CEO Mark Richardson retires and new executive Matt Wenzel assumes leadership Tuesday, January 2nd.
The company had been tight-lipped on plans for Fort Madison after announcing in August they were considering purchasing property on the city’s west side, on the southeast corner of the intersection at Ortho Road and Hwy. 61.
Melissa Jones. marketing and communication director for GRHS said today that any plans regarding the purchased land in Fort Madison and any future projects at that location are on hold at this time.
She said the hospital had no other comment at this time.