Clearwater Valley, St. Mary’s Hospital announce letter of intent to transfer ownership to Kootenai Health

Kootenai Health has been selected to partner with Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics and St. Mary’s Hospital and Clinics.

Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics, St. Mary’s Hospital and Clinics and Kootenai Health have entered into a letter of intent to transfer ownership of the two critical access hospitals from Essentia Health to Kootenai Health.

CVHC and SMH are owned and operated by Essentia Health, a non-profit health care system. Essentia Health’s other facilities are primarily located in Minnesota, Wisconsin and eastern North Dakota.

Because the Idaho hospitals are geographically remote from Essentia Health’s headquarters and other facilities, it has been difficult for them to collaborate and coordinate care across the Essentia Health System, according to an Aug. 8 press release. In February 2019, with Essentia Health’s approval and support, CVHC and SMH issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) seeking a business relationship with a health system in closer proximity to North Central Idaho.

After consideration, Kootenai Health was selected to partner with CVHC and SMH. The three organizations will work together during the next several months to finalize the terms of the partnership, develop a transition plan, and seek their respective organizational boards’ approval.

Kootenai Health said they are committed to maintaining the Catholic identity and supporting operations of SMH in a manner consistent with its Catholic tradition, including compliance with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.

The target date for this transition is being finalized; however, is anticipated in early 2020.

“Strong regional relationships are critical for rural hospitals to remain independent and survive. Isolation puts rural hospitals at risk of closing their doors and leaving their communities without the health care and employment opportunities they need. This partnership is intended to strengthen health care in North Central Idaho and help ensure ongoing, quality health care in these communities,” the press release stated.

Although details have yet to be determined, the intent is for CVHC and SMH to retain their current structures, boards, and leadership. Through Kootenai Health, they will be able to gain access to needed resources, best practices and the opportunity for physicians and clinical staff members to work with other providers to share information and discuss complex cases.

Kootenai Health already has a management agreement with Grangeville’s Syringa Hospital. This partnership with CVHC and SMH has the potential to allow additional collaboration and service enhancements for all three hospitals and clinics throughout the region.

More information on the proposed transition will be made available as plans develop.

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