Samaritan’s CEO talks about developing alignment with QVMC
As Quincy Valley Medical Center works on teaming up with Samaritan Healthcare, Theresa Sullivan, Samaritan’s CEO, answered questions for Post-Register readers.
QVMC’s Legacy Project called for Quincy’s hospital to find and team up with a regional health care organization. A few months ago, QVMC leaders narrowed the search to Samaritan, based in Moses Lake.
Below are seven questions, and answers supplied by Sullivan, about this potentially large change for both organizations.
Q: Why is Samaritan Healthcare working toward a formal alignment with Quincy Valley Medical Center?
A: Samaritan Healthcare is working toward a formal alignment with Quincy Valley Medical Center for a few reasons. First, Samaritan Healthcare and QVMC already have some patients who receive care in both communities. For example, some women receive prenatal care in Quincy and have their baby at Samaritan. Second, both Samaritan and QVMC are Public Hospital Districts and by virtue of this structure we share a common DNA and similar mission and vision. This is important when building relationships between two organizations. Finally, Samaritan and QVMC are both committed to keeping care close to home whenever appropriate and possible. Samaritan will work with QVMC to increase physician services in the community. Samaritan can also be a resource for services that are not available in Quincy.
Q: As neighboring hospitals, do Samaritan and QVMC already cooperate at some level?
A: Samaritan and QVMC do collaborate already as we are both members of the Grand Columbia Health Alliance. The Alliance members are working together on initiatives to bring more services to the communities of our shared area and to save money and resources on areas we can work together. One example is compliance. Healthcare has a number of regulatory and compliance requirements. We have joined together to develop a compliance program for the members of the Alliance and share resources to do it.
Q: Can you describe what the new relationship might look like?
A: At this point, we are working to develop a master services agreement which was just recently approved by the QVMC board and will be going to the Samaritan board in April. This agreement will provide the basis for Samaritan and QVMC to work together. Depending on the service, other agreements may be needed as well. The first area we want to focus on together is increasing clinic services (physician and providers) in the community. Having more physicians and provider services in Quincy will allow people to receive care close to home. I attended a number of community meetings in Quincy and a message I heard regularly is that people want expanded primary care services available in the community.
Samaritan and QVMC will remain separate, independent public hospital districts. We are not combining the districts and we are not combining financials.
Q: Does Samaritan Healthcare have patients in western Grant County (which is also served by QVMC)?
A: Yes, as I mentioned above an example would be OB patients.
Q: In a formal alignment, what strengths could Samaritan bring in addition to what QVMC offers?
A: Over the last few years, Samaritan has been successful in recruiting a number of physicians and providers to our community. We are expanding both our primary care and specialty services. We would like to extend recruitment especially primary care for Quincy. Samaritan can also offer other administrative services to QVMC as needed.
Q: What is the next step?
A: The next step will be for the Samaritan Healthcare Board of Commissioners to consider approval of the Master Services Agreement which we anticipate will occur in April. After the Master Services Agreement is complete, we will be continuing to work on plans and structure for increased physician services in the Quincy community. That is our first priority.
Q: Is there a forecast date for completing an agreement?
A: This is a developing partnership; there is no formal date expected for all aspects of the agreement to be finalized.
By Dave Burgess, email@example.com