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Health systems will consolidate

Posted: Tuesday, Nov 13th, 2012

ALAMOSA – SLV Regional Medical Center and Conejos County Hospital have signed a letter of intent to become San Luis Valley Health, a single health system, with a target date of January 2013 for completing the integration.

San Luis Valley Health will bring the two hospitals, as well as the clinics in Alamosa, La Jara, Antonito and Monte Vista, under one umbrella. This includes all primary and specialty care providers from both systems. It is anticipated that all 592 employees will be in one organization with common benefits, pay practices and other policies.

SLVRMC originally partnered with CCH in 2003 to combine certain resources and help preserve healthcare services to the southern San Luis Valley. While this was a step forward in strengthening the viability of CCH and the care they provide, according to expert advisors who looked at the current system, further integration is needed for continued success.

“It makes sense financially and clinically to integrate the two systems,” said Anne Holmes, vice president of the CCH Corporation Board. “As it was the right thing to do so many years ago, it’s again the right thing to do for our patients and staff to combine our healthcare systems.”

Earlier this year, the Board of Trustees at SLVRMC and the CCH Board voted to pursue arrangements that would combine the two separate organizations into one entity serving patients throughout the Valley. The CCH District Board agreed.

CCH Board member Richard Martin said, “I’ve been with this board since it started in 2003 and the mission hasn’t changed, to maintain healthcare services in Conejos County. By integrating into one organization we will continue to safeguard that mission.”

In late summer, leadership began looking at a variety of issues including governance, corporate structure, management, human resources, and operations that would need to be addressed in order to bring the organizations together. A task force of five board members (two from CCH, two from SLVRMC, and chairman of the two boards), along with the CEOs for the two hospitals, was formed to address these issues and make a final recommendation to the board for both organizations. The task force plans to complete their work in November and then make recommendations to both boards for action the first week of December. Upon the approval of both boards, the two organizations will become one, effective January of 2013.

“Together we will have more opportunities to preserve good, quality healthcare in the SLV,” said SLVRMC and CCH Board Chairman Jan Gay. “System integration will knock down any remaining barriers, and allow us (SLVH) the ability to provide quality patient care no matter where you are seen in the San Luis Valley.”

As part of creating a single organization, the Task Force had recommended the name San Luis Valley Health to reveal a broader focus for the organization, not centered on a single building or place.

SLVRMC CEO Russ Johnson said the task force wants to demonstrate a mission of health for the entire Valley population which will include acute care, hospitals, emergency medicine, primary care, specialty physicians, behavioral health, wellness, advanced illness management, and other aspects. Along with the new name will come some minor changes to the logo, signage, and marketing material.

“We hope to celebrate the new organization in early January,” Johnson said. “As we get closer to that time, we will have more information about what the changes will include.”

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