Henry County Health Center and Great River Health Move Forward with Expanded Partnership

On March 2, Henry County residents voted 59% to 41% to authorize the Henry County Health Center Board of Trustees to pursue an operational lease agreement between HCHC and Great River Health. Starting July 1, Great River Health will lease HCHC’s facilities and assets, and will operate the health center. The expanded partnership will provide financial stability to HCHC and will ensure health care continues to be managed locally.

“With the voters’ support to secure the future of local health care, we look forward to taking the next steps in continuing HCHC’s rich history,” said HCHC Board of Trustees Chairman Kent Severson. “This year, HCHC is celebrating its 100th year serving the county, and we will be able to welcome that milestone by ensuring quality health care stays close to home for years to come.”

Under the agreement, the HCHC Board of Trustees will continue to be responsible for maintenance, improvement and any necessary replacement of leased hospital assets. The trustees will continue to govern and provide oversight on execution of the agreement. The operational lease also ensures management of the health center remains within southeast Iowa, with critical decisions made at a local level.

“It became apparent to the board that remaining an independent hospital in this difficult health care environment would likely be impossible over the long term. It was a goal of the board to find a trusted partner that would allow us to keep health care local,” explained Trustee Jan Towne. “Due to our long-standing relationship for more than 10 years with Great River Health, it became apparent early in our process that they were a wonderful option. They have a vested interest in southeast Iowa, and I am excited to see where this partnership will take us.”

HCHC associates will remain employed by the HCHC Board of Trustees and retain their current benefits, including Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System (IPERS) benefits. In addition, HCHC will continue to be the name of the hospital, taxes will remain in Henry County, and HCHC Foundation funds will stay within the community.

“I am so pleased with the passage of the lease agreement. The HCHC Board of Trustees worked diligently for months to structure an agreement that was beneficial for HCHC patients, associates and Henry County residents. Retaining our status as a county hospital made it possible for the dedicated employees of HCHC to retain IPERS benefits. This was of utmost importance to the Board of Trustees,” stated HCHC Trustee Sally Olson.

This expanded public-private partnership is among the first of its kind in Iowa, and it may be a possible solution for rural hospitals that face financial and industry-related challenges in coming years.

“Great River Health looks forward to expanding and enhancing our trusted partnership with HCHC,” said Great River Health President and CEO Matt Wenzel. “We are committed to providing local, quality health care options for residents in our region and ensuring the long-term stability of these services in the future.”