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.”