DULUTH — Essentia Health is partnering with Moose Lake’s Mercy Hospital in a transfer that might broaden the Duluth-based supplier’s regional footprint and shore up the agricultural hospital’s funds.
“It’s a scary time for small hospitals,” stated Dr. Jon Pryor, Essentia’s president of operations in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. “There’s safety in numbers.”
Mercy’s board voted to affix forces with Essentia on Monday after requesting associate proposals earlier this fall. While particulars of the association will not be finalized till subsequent 12 months, Pryor stated Mercy can be “totally integrated” with Essentia, and the partnership would put off the $500,000 regional tax levy supporting the 56-year-old hospital.
Mercy Hospital CEO Mike Youso stated in a press release that “a strong partner who shares our mission and values is critical to the hospital’s future success.”
Board members felt Essentia may assist recruit medical doctors and different wanted staff; Mercy Hospital is Carlton County’s fourth-largest employer.
The partnership joins a pattern towards consolidation amongst rural hospitals throughout the nation, and at present a majority of Minnesota hospitals are in a way affiliated with a bigger group, stated Wendy Burt, spokesperson for the Minnesota Hospital Association.
Mercy Hospital is likely one of the state’s 32 hospitals in monetary misery, in keeping with the Department of Health, that means it had working losses for a lot of the previous decade.
“In Greater Minnesota, the concerns about financial pressures are magnified,” Burt stated. “And they have additional challenges in recruiting and sustaining a workforce.”
Registered nurse Marisa Beck stated employees are involved about what may occur to advantages, retirement, contracts and job safety as particulars of the partnership are determined.
“We all take pride in what we do, and we want to be able to continue to offer those services and hopefully grow them with Essentia,” stated Beck, co-chair of the Minnesota Nurses Association unit at Mercy Hospital. “It’s the uncertainty of it all — we’re having to sit back and see how things unfold, and hopefully it will be for the best.”
Pryor stated Essentia does not intend to slim down its new affiliate.
“We have to be respectful of the fact that whenever there’s a change like this it makes people nervous,” he stated. “We also have to remind everyone there is a worker shortage. We don’t want anyone to lose their jobs — we want the opposite to happen.”
Essentia now supplies providers in greater than 60 cities throughout northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, jap North Dakota and in Idaho, although its enlargement hasn’t at all times gone easily.
When Essentia purchased the Sandstone hospital it had lengthy managed in 2012, the group hospital’s board noticed it as a hostile takeover.
This time round, Mercy’s board is asking for the partnership.
“Both sides are excited about formalizing this,” Pryor stated. “We think it’s a win-win.”
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