The purchase of Clearwater Valley and St. Mary’s Hospital by Kootenai Health is now complete
As of April 1, 2020, ownership of Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics, in Orofino, Idaho, and St. Mary’s Hospital and Clinics, in Cottonwood, Idaho, officially transferred to Kootenai Health.
Since entering into a letter of intent last August, the three organizations have been working to finalize the terms of the partnership, develop a transition plan, and seek their respective organizational boards’ approval. The decision to transfer ownership from Essentia Health, a health care organization based in the Midwest, is intended to strengthen health care in north-central Idaho. It will create an environment where the organizations can share knowledge, information, resources, and best practices.
Any changes that come as a result of the new relationship, however, will be paced and thoughtful.
“Clearwater Valley and St. Mary’s are strong organizations with good programs, processes and cultures,” said Jeremy Evans, executive vice president of hospital and regional operations at Kootenai Health. “Our intent is to keep that and learn from their rural expertise. At the same time, Kootenai Health brings resources and expertise as an advanced regional health center. Our work together will benefit the entire northern Idaho region”
Under the agreement, Clearwater Valley and St. Mary’s will retain their current structures and boards. St. Mary’s will also maintain its Catholic identity and operate in a manner consistent with its Catholic tradition, including compliance with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. Lenne Bonner will remain in the role of president, and both organizations will continue to operate with local management and a community board.
“Kootenai Health, Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics, and St. Mary’s Hospital and Clinics share several important ideals,” said Lenne Bonner, president of Clearwater Valley and St. Mary’s. “We all value independence and decision-making that happens on the local level. We also value partnerships that improve patient care. We know our employees are our greatest asset. We know the health care industry is changing, and we must work together to keep services in our communities.”
In addition to the newly transitioned ownership of Clearwater Valley and St. Mary’s, Kootenai Health has a management agreement with Syringa Hospital in Grangeville, Idaho. This is anticipated to allow additional collaboration and service enhancements for all three hospitals and clinics throughout the region.
Through Kootenai Health, all three organizations have access to important resources, best practices and the opportunity for physicians and clinical staff members to work with other providers to share information and discuss complex cases. In time, additional areas of collaboration might include information technology, human resources support, revenue cycle and billing, and purchasing.
Kootenai Health has a long history of collaborating with other medical providers and critical access hospitals throughout the five northern counties of Idaho. Years of ongoing work with critical-access hospitals in rural communities has helped Kootenai Health understand their unique needs and how to provide meaningful help.
Strong regional relationships are critical for rural hospitals to remain independent and survive. Isolation puts rural hospitals at risk of closing their doors and leaving their communities without the strong health care they need. As a tertiary regional health system, Kootenai Health will help ensure local care in north-central Idaho will remain accessible and continue to be delivered with a high degree of clinical quality, safety and excellence.