SCBH and ACMC Partner to Form Rural Health Clinic
Two organizations come together to best serve local health needs of community.
Affiliated Community Medical Centers (ACMC) and Swift County Benson Hospital (SCBH) have approved an agreement under which the ACMC-Benson clinic will become a Rural Health Clinic (RHC) under SCBH.
Under legislation passed by Congress in 1977, a Federally-certified Rural Health Clinic has two main goals: improve access to primary health care in rural, underserved communities; and promote a collaborative model of health care delivery using a team approach with physicians and advanced practice providers.
To qualify, a Rural Health Clinic must be located in a designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). Federal shortage designations are used to identify geographic areas, population groups, and healthcare facilities that lack access to healthcare providers. Swift County is the only HPSA in ACMC’s current service area. Rural communities have historically had difficulty attracting and retaining health professionals.
“The collaborative venture will allow us to continue delivering comprehensive, efficient, high-quality healthcare to Benson and the surrounding communties,” said Kurt Waldbillig, CEO of Swift County Benson Hospital. “Clearly we’re building on the strengths of both organizations.”
As a key requirement for Provider Based Rural Health Clinics under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the RHC must operate as a department of a hospital, under the control of a hospital’s board of directors. The two organizations are in the process of finalizing a professional service agreement and a management service agreement. Under the management agreement, a Joint Operating Committee will be created for the oversight, policy and daily operations of the clinic, made up of members from both ACMC and SCBH.
The organizations are also in the process of finalizing an operations transfer agreement. Under this new agreement there are two groups of ACMC employees who will be affected; employees who will remain employed by ACMC and those who will have the opportunity to become employed through SCBH.
“The Rural Health Clinic partnership is not an effort to eliminate staff positions,” said ACMC Administrator, Steve Gerberding. “Both ACMC and SCBH are interested in employing staff currently working in the ACMC-Benson clinic location. An employee transition plan is in development and human resources staff will be available to meet with employees to discuss their individual options. The high-quality, personalized and convenient care we offer every patient who comes through the doors will remain – delivered by the same caring staff and physicians the community has come to know.”
A closing date for the agreement and the beginning of combined operations has been set for no later than September 1, 2016, pending regulatory approvals. When combined operations begin, the clinic’s name will change to Swift County Benson Hospital and Clinics (in partnership with Affiliated Community Medical Centers). Employment transitions will be effective as of January 1, 2017.
“Healthcare is changing and we are changing with it, but every day our focus is right where it needs to be,” said Waldbillig. “We’re focused on providing top quality care for those in Benson and the surrounding communities for generations to come.”
For more information, contact:
Swift County Benson Hospital, Executive Assistant
Affiliated Community Medical Centers, Marketing