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Hospital Enters Into Management Agreement with Decatur Health Systems

December 30, 2015

McCook, Nebraska—Community Hospital entered into a hospital management agreement with Decatur Health Systems (DHS) at the Oberlin, Kansas hospital’s December 28 board meeting. During the meeting, DHS board members approved the agreement between the two hospitals which becomes effective January 1, 2016.

Community Hospital has been working with the DHS board and senior leaders for several months on a consultant basis to assist in stabilizing the hospital. “It has been our pleasure to be invited and to work with the board and administration to help strengthen the hospital,” Community Hospital President & CEO, James P. Ulrich, Jr. said. “We look forward to this next step in working with them under a more formal agreement recognizing there is great potential for Decatur Health Systems and healthcare services in general in the Oberlin area.

“We believe that the future of successful healthcare in our region hinges on the ability to provide access to care in communities throughout our area, including Oberlin,” Ulrich added. “Oftentimes in rural communities, the hospital is among the leading employer in town, and that certainly is the case in Oberlin. We believe there is a need for a strong hospital to have a strong community and in turn, a strong community is necessary for a strong hospital.”

Under the agreement, Community Hospital will recruit, hire and compensate a chief operating officer (COO) to manage the daily affairs at DHS. The COO will report to the DHS board as well as to Ulrich. Community Hospital will also hire a chief nursing officer (CNO) who will report to the COO. Although they will be employees of Community Hospital, the COO and CNO will work under contract as full-time senior executives at DHS.

Until a COO can be recruited, Ulrich will serve in an interim administrator role, in addition to support from the Community Hospital senior leadership, Karen Kliment Thompson, Vice President Ancillary Services; Troy Bruntz, Vice President Finance; and Janelle Kircher, Vice President Patient Care Services.

In addition to managing DHS senior executives, Community Hospital will be available to provide other services, of which most are already being provided:

  • Laundry services
  • A part-time pharmacist
  • Accounting oversight
  • Strategic and additional management/consulting services

In the agreement other potential services include, but are not limited to:

  • Foundation consultation
  • Physician, physician assistant and nurse practitioner recruitment services
  • 340B consultation (a government drug discount program)
  • Specialty clinic/outreach services such as occupational and speech therapy, pain management, dietician, diabetic educator, oncology and orthopedics
  • Laboratory oversight
  • Board of director orientation and education
  • Materials management review and assessment
  • Hospital operations consulting
  • Strategic planning services
  • Oversight and consulting in marketing/public relations, performance improvement, compliance, human resources, infection control, patient satisfaction, provider credentialing, safety, and health information management
  • Other consulting could include billing and coding, information systems, emergency management, and wellness.

At a December 8 special meeting, the DHS board unanimously chose Community Hospital to enter into a hospital management agreement and requested that an agreement be written by December 28.

Ulrich stressed that the agreement does not include any ownership or purchase of DHS or any plans to do that in the future. “Our agreement is to manage and consult with Decatur Health Systems in an effort to strengthen healthcare services through the hospital in Oberlin,” he said.

“As a regional healthcare leader, we also feel it is our responsibility to do what we can to ensure the strength of healthcare services throughout the region,” Ulrich said. He said that responsibility ties to two of Community Hospital’s strategic objectives: Enhance local access and value to healthcare services along the continuum of care through collaboration and improved coordination with our local healthcare providers and other healthcare entities throughout our region; and Provide the necessary leadership and advocacy efforts to preserve and enhance the overall health and economic stability of our community and region.

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