Hospitals to partner with Banner

A group of rural Colorado hospitals has selected Banner Health as a partner to help them work together to maintain high-quality patient care, manage health care costs and thrive as businesses in each of the communities they serve.

The Eastern Plains Healthcare Consortium is a nonprofit partnership among eight Colorado rural and critical access hospitals. They are Melissa Memorial Hospital, Holyoke; Kiowa County Hospital District, Eads; Keefe Memorial Hospital, Cheyenne Wells; Haxtun Hospital District, Haxtun; Kit Carson County Hospital District, Burlington; Yuma Hospital and Clinics, Yuma; Lincoln County Hospital, Hugo; and Sedgwick County Health Center, Julesburg.

As the hospitals collaborate to provide excellent health services to their rural communities, they looked for an interested health system to align with their mission and vision. Banner was chosen over three other large health systems.

“Each of us has a commitment to our respective rural communities,” said Trampas Hutches, chief executive officer of Melissa Memorial Hospital and chairman of the Eastern Plains Healthcare Consortium. “Coming together through the consortium allows us to meet our common goal of being successful, independent health care organizations. Banner has been respectful of that.”

Banner Health will offer the group services to create value for these hospitals at rates they can get better as a group rather than contracting individually.

Banner Health also will help to identify ways to benefit patients with specialized care they need that isn’t offered in their local community.

The agreement allows each of the consortium members to retain their independence.

Headquartered in Arizona, Banner Health is one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country. The system owns and operates 28 acute-care hospitals; an academic medical division; and employed physician groups, long-term care centers, outpatient surgery centers and an array of other services. Ten of the hospitals are in rural communities including two in Colorado: East Morgan County Hospital in Brush and Sterling Regional MedCenter.

“EPHC wanted to find a relationship and offer membership to a health system that will provide the best overall value to our members,” Hutches said. “We wanted a system that showed serious and genuine interest in being a member of our group of small hospitals.”

 “This is truly a case of being able to achieve more together than we can on our own,” said Hoyt Skabelund, chief executive officer of Banner Health’s rural division. “Banner recognizes that in small communities, the hospital does more than simply provide health care. We’re often one of the largest employers, we are community leaders, and we strive to do business locally, so we act as an economic driver.”

“We know the importance of being able to provide the highest quality of care locally and of being a strong, stable part of the rural business community,” Skabelund said. “This also helps us address the important work of lowering costs to health care consumers in Colorado.”

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