Great River Medical Center and Fort Madison Community Hospital will apply
to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for Sole Community
Hospital (SCH) classification in 2021. The SCH program was created to
maintain access to needed health services for Medicare beneficiaries in
rural communities by providing greater reimbursement.
Hospitals must meet specific criteria for SCH classification, including
distance from other hospitals. To meet the proximity requirement, Great
River Medical Center and Fort Madison Community Hospital will become one
hospital with two campuses. The new hospital will be renamed Southeast
Iowa Regional Medical Center, operating under parent corporation Great
River Health. A reduction in employees is not anticipated.
“The goal is to make the change July 1,” said Matt Wenzel,
president and chief executive officer, Great River Health. “This
rapid timeline is in response to the pandemic’s financial impact
on the hospitals, and it will help ensure long-term financial sustainability
for health care in southeast Iowa.
Great River Medical Center and Fort Madison Community Hospital became partners
under Great River Health Aug. 1, 2018. Because integration began two years
ago, patients will notice few changes beyond the new name.
The recently identified SCH program triggered the name change.
“It would have been easiest to apply one existing name to the other
location, but this is an opportunity to rebrand and strengthen our partnership,”
Wenzel said. “Southeast Iowa Regional Medical Center will be one
unified hospital serving the tristate area.”
Great River Health introduced new hospital logos earlier this year. The
icon will remain the same; only the names of the hospitals will change.
In November, the Henry County Health Center Board of Trustees approved
a Memorandum of Understanding to pursue an expanded lease agreement with
Great River Health. If the agreement is approved by voters in March, Henry
County Health Center would not be affected by this classification change.
Its name and status as a Critical Access Hospital will remain the same.