DHS, WCMH to explore affiliation

WEBSTER SPRINGS — Webster County Memorial Hospital and Davis Health System have announced their intent to explore an affiliation arrangement to further align operational and strategic healthcare capabilities.

“The Board feels strongly that local healthcare must be available in our community,” said WCMH Acting Board Chair Mary Anne Carpenter. “We have a long, proud tradition of independence but fundamental changes to the economy and healthcare industry are eroding our patient service capabilities and the future direction of our hospital. We feel it’s time to begin the process of exploring alternative strategic options.”

The two groups have signed a letter of intent to enter further discussion around affiliation. If the discussion leads to more of an affiliation, the design of the affiliation arrangement will be developed cooperatively by the leadership of both WCMH and DHS.

“Through our current management agreement with Webster Hospital, we feel there is appropriate potential alignment and an opportunity to enhance the performance of both organizations in areas like patient quality and efficiency,” said Davis Health System CEO Vance Jackson.

WCMH CEO Jamie Westfall said the affiliation will not result in a merger or buy-out of the Webster Springs hospital. “Affiliations can be designed at different levels of commitment. Our goal is to develop a model that brings value to health care in both communities and to both organizations,” he said.

The set of common objectives to be evaluated in the analysis include cost savings and efficiencies of scale, aligned specialty services, shared physician recruitment, quality improvement, growth in primary care and ancillary services, standardized clinical processes, technology support and systems, contractual relationships and others.

“The security of local healthcare can only be achieved through greater financial stability for the hospital. Davis Health System has proven to be a solid partner and has brought value to our staff and leadership. We’re optimistic about moving this partnership forward so that additional opportunities can be achieved and local healthcare services enhanced beyond what they are currently,” added Carpenter.

CEO Westfall and Carpenter shared the letter of intent with Webster County Commissioners at their June 28 meeting.

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