January 18, 2012

Healthcare system looks at affiliation with St. Alexius

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

In an attempt to recruit new physicians as well as expanding its specialist physician services, McKenzie County Healthcare Systems has begun discussing a possible affiliation with St. Alexius Medical Center in Bismarck.
According to Dan Kelly, CEO of McKenzie County Healthcare Systems, both organizations are patient-focused healthcare systems and share similar missions.
“It is becoming more and more difficult to operate a rural hospital without some form of alignment with a larger facility,” stated Kelly. “I have known St. Alexius’ President and CEO Gary P. Miller for many years and have great respect for his leadership. I feel our organizations would fit well together.”
According to Kelly, in addition to providing the McKenzie County Healthcare Systems with physician recruitment services, as part of the affiliation, St. A’s would provide the hospital and clinic with specialists and assist the healthcare system with master facility planning.
“This affiliation with St. Alexius will have the immediate benefit of assisting us the recruitment of primary care physicians and bringing physicians to McKenzie County to operate specialty clinics once a month,” states Kelly. “In addition, St. A’s will be able to give us guidance as we look toward renovating the nursing home to afford private rooms, and moving the hospital and clinic onto the nursing home campus.”
According to Mr. Miller, the health care landscape is changing, especially in the western part of North Dakota which is one of the reasons that both organizations met recently to discuss a possible affiliation.
“Health care providers must reach out and work together to meet the increasing demands for services,” stated Miller. “Our potential affiliation could help both of us live our missions by meeting the health care needs of the communities we serve.  We thank the McKenzie County Healthcare Systems Board of Directors for their interest in working together to address the health needs of patients in their area.”  
Both administrators stressed that the entities are considering forming an affiliation. The respective healthcare systems are not contemplating a merger or acquisition.
St. Alexius Medical Center is a 306-bed, full-service healthcare system offering a comprehensive line of inpatient and outpatient medical services, including: a Level II Emergency and Trauma Center, primary and specialty physician clinics, durable medical equipment services and ancillary services throughout western and central North Dakota.
Since its founding in 1885, St. Alexius has been recognized with numerous accreditations and awards including: The Joint Commission, Nursing Magnet Recognition Program®, Blue Cross Blue Shield Centers of Excellence Awards and “50 Best Hospitals in America” by Becker’s Hospital Review.
McKenzie County Healthcare Systems was born on July 1, 2004, with the merger of the Good Shepherd Home Corporation and the McKenzie County Memorial Hospital Corporation. This resulted in the consolidation of all healthcare services in McKenzie County.
McKenzie County Healthcare Systems consists of McKenzie County Memorial Hospital, McKenzie County Clinic, Good Shepherd Home Nursing Home, Horizon Assisted Living and the Healthy Hearts Wellness Center.