BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Fort Madison Community Hospital is now a part of the Great River Health System.
According to a joint release issued today from the communications departments of both health care providers, FMCH and Great River Medical Center are now partners as part of Great River Health System.
“This is a partnership and an affiliation agreement that puts us under the umbrella of Great River Health System,” said Angie Budnik, the FMCH’s Community Relations Director.
Great River Health Systems Director of Marketing and Communications, Melissa Jones, said both sides are calling the agreement a partnership.
“It’s appropriate to call Fort Madison a division of Great River Health Systems, but we’re calling it partnership,” Jones said. “They will maintain their identity, their own board of directors, and their own administrative teams. We’re excited about it. It’s the right thing to do for a strong southeast Iowa.”
According to the release, the agreement becomes effective August 1. An announcement was made in December that FMCH and Great River Health Systems were conducting diligence in exploring the possibility of some type of affiliation, and both health care systems began a review of operating and governing documents to determine the viability of any affiliation. The release said both healthcare organizations, as part of Great River Health System, will maintain their identities including names, boards of directors, and administrative teams.
“The agreement represents a collaborative understanding of the industry, our patients, and our communities. Partnership will create promise that the very best coordinated and comprehensive health care can be found right here in southeast Iowa. It’s a new day; we simply can’t let history stand in the way of our future and doing what’s best for our patients,” said Jeremy Alexander, CEO at Fort Madison Community Hospital, in the release.
“Having a shared vision will help us provide higher quality health care. This partnership will create a stronger, local health system solely dedicated to serving the southeast Iowa region,” said Matt Wenzel, CEO at Great River Health System.
Ann Menke, Chairman of FMCH Board of Directors said FMCH now all eyes are on the future.
“Our legal identity remains intact, and basically what’s happened is we operate on the same level as Great River Medical Center under that Great River Health System umbrella. Legally, this is an acquisition, but will continue to operate as FMCH under our own leadership and administration. The idea here is to now look at developing some synergies and exploring those options,” Menke said.
“All with an eye to what’s best for health care in southeast Iowa, and what’s sustainable for the health care in southeast Iowa.”
Menke said not only will FMCH have access to resources through GRHS and GRMC, but they will have access to Fort Madison’s resources as well.
“To coin a phrase, FMCH is on a roll right now,” she said. “We have great leadership, wonderful new doctors coming in to enhance the wonderful staff we already have in place, and great administration. I really do see this as a true partnership. There are opportunities out there we haven’t even discovered yet. I’m really excited and looking forward to having the best of both worlds for all of us.”
Budnik said the current IT conversion to Meditech will remain underway as the hospital’s $2 million consolidation of software for patient medical records and increased services via the hospital’s website is rolled out. She said the affiliation creates more opportunities for collaboration and to look to the future at what makes health care stronger in southeast Iowa.