Lindsborg Community Hospital & Salina Regional Sign Affiliation Agreement

May 6, 2012

The Lindsborg Community Hospital and Lindsborg Community Health Care Foundation Boards of Directors announce that a landmark goal has been achieved with the signing of a definitive agreement to affiliate with Salina Regional Health Center.

The proposed agreement was unanimously passed by the local boards at a special meeting May 10. The Board of Directors of SRHC approved the contract May 31. The agreement will take effect October 1, 2012.

The joint signing was the culmination of several months of study, investigation, information sharing and legal negotiations. Salina Regional executives approached CEO Larry Van Der Wege nearly a year ago to discuss the potential the two health care facilities could achieve with an affiliation. In November 2011, it was announced that work would begin to formalize and strengthen the existing affiliation in order to enhance health care services for the residents in the Smoky Valley. The goal was to seek the means to develop a partnership which would provide Lindsborg the greatest opportunity to have a hospital and clinic for many years to come.

A changing healthcare landscape has set the stage for affiliation talks between hospitals, rather than a single act of legislation. Fragmented and competitive health care will have to become coordinated and more efficient in order to stay in the provider arena. Independent critical access hospitals, free of affiliations or corporate coalitions, are disappearing across the nation, unable to compete in a volatile marketplace where expensive technology and skilled staff are required to keep pace with reimbursement and regulatory issues. Lindsborg Community Hospital has been a critical access hospital since July, 2003; the CAH designation will not change as a result of the affiliation.

"For generations, the people of the Smoky Valley have pursued quality healthcare. The first Lindsborg Community Hospital opened in 1949 with support from the Lindsborg, Marquette, Assaria, Smolan, Falun and Roxbury communities. In the time since I have been involved with healthcare in Lindsborg, the current hospital building and a new clinic were built. The affiliation with SRHC has just as great a level of significance when focusing on our primary goal, which is to keep high quality healthcare in Lindsborg, followed by a commitment to keep as many jobs as possible in Lindsborg," stated Chuck Oleen, President of the LCH Board.

The affiliation will increase the services and care available to the people of the Smoky Valley communities served by Lindsborg. Nothing in the agreement will inhibit or eliminate a patient's ability to choose from whom or where they receive services. This partnership should improve the efficiency and effectiveness for the care provided, and will ensure that LCH will provide hospital and clinic services far into the future. The agreement does not restrict which medical providers (physicians) deliver services at LCH.

On the effective date, SRHC will assume responsibility for the management and operations of Lindsborg Community Hospital. In order to perform the operations, all LCH employees will become SRHC employees. The Lindsborg Community Hospital Board of Directors will maintain their responsibilities for LCH. Ownership and the name "Lindsborg Community Hospital" do not change. Van Der Wege will remain as CEO of the Lindsborg Hospital.

With the affiliation of LCH and a much larger regional hospital, leverage and risk management are major components with measurable value. A small rural hospital has little to no leverage with vendors, contractors, purchasing contracts, employee benefit providers, third party payors, market reach or technology costs. The risk management checklist includes disaster recovery, regulatory compliance, information technology and coverage in the event of a sudden loss of key staff.

Clinical integration and the coordination of care for the patients served by Lindsborg Community Hospital provide the "icing on the cake". The agreement clearly states Salina Regional will "maintain and enhance access to high quality health care services for the residents of Lindsborg and the surrounding area". Twenty-four hour hospital pharmacy review, expansion of telemedicine and emergency physician support are among the bulleted items. Formal patient transfer protocols between LCH and SRHC will assure that all LCH patients will "receive the right care at the right place at the right time in order to assure quality outcomes and efficiency."

"This affiliation brings two dedicated organizations together to improve services, quality and patient care for north central Kansas. We are excited to work with Lindsborg Community Hospital to provide growth, stability and greater opportunity moving forward into the future of the healthcare industry," said Micheal Terry, CEO for Salina Regional Health Center.

The mission statement for Lindsborg Community Hospital is "Partners caring for the health of the Smoky Valley communities." With this action, LCH and SRHC become partners-and leaders-- in caring for the health of the Smoky Valley communities.