Members of the staff and hospital board of trustees at Van Diest Medical Center heard a presentation Thursday night from representatives of the University of Iowa Critical Access Hospital Network concerning what the network might have to offer the local health care facility.
Christine Miller, assistant vice president of integrated strategic planning and business development and Jill Kordick, associate director of the joint office for clinical outreach, explained that the network is an independent group of rural health care systems. Currently, there are 11 facilities in the network - Clarion, Belmond, Waverly, Vinton, Pella, Sigourney, Fairfield, Mt. Pleasant, Washington, Keosauqua and Iowa City.
Miller said the focus of the network was clinical care of mutual patients, support for education and training needs and engaging critical access hospitals in research programs. Support services offered could include consultations in information technology, human resources or marketing. Strategic planning resources are also available, according to Miller.
"We're never heavy-handed in what we suggest to you," She said. "We consider it a family discussion."
"Part of our mission is to reach out and to grow, to collaborate," said Kordick. Though the network is a separate entity from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, it still has access to many of the experts and practitioners at the UIHC.
Monthly fees for network participation range from $274 to $624 per month, Miller said.
VDMC currently has a CAH agreement with the Mercy Network.
The trustees are expected review a proposed management agreement with Mercy at the September board meeting next week. The agreement reportedly contains a clause that would require the hospital administrator to be a Mercy employee.