Meeker Memorial Hospital and Clinics and CentraCare recently announced they have entered into a collaboration and services agreement effective Saturday, Feb. 1.

Meeker Memorial Hospital, which is owned by Meeker County, will remain independent of CentraCare, but the hospital and two Carris Health-Litchfield Clinics will work much more closely together by sharing electronic medical record systems and coordinated registration and billing for patients.

The agreement reflects a desire by both organizations to collaborate to deliver and lead effective, efficient, convenient and coordinated health care services throughout Meeker County, according to a news release from MMHC.

“This opportunity allows us to remain independent while leveraging the expertise, resources and experience of CentraCare,” said Beth Oberg, chairwoman of MMHC’s board of directors and a Meeker County commissioner. “Together we’ll be better positioned to enhance the quality of care, improve outcomes and deliver an even better patient experience.”

A significant aspect of the agreement is the transition of Carris Health-Litchfield Clinics to a provider-based clinic model allowing physicians, clinic services and hospital to integrate the delivery of health care services under one operation.

“Forming a provider based-clinic allows for better continuity of care between the hospital and clinic,” said Kurt Waldbillig, chief executive officer of Meeker Memorial. “It will make it easier for our staff and providers to work together and have an immeasurable impact on the lives of the patients we serve.”

The clinics will be operated by the hospital through a lease with Carris Health, a subsidiary of CentraCare.

The changing world of health care has created numerous challenges for providers, including rising costs and declining reimbursement, the news release said, and the collaboration between Meeker Memorial and CentraCare aims to ensure that health care services in the region remain viable and better positioned to serve the needs of the residents of Meeker County and surrounding area.

“This collaboration blends the best of Meeker Memorial and CentraCare,” Dr. Ken Holmen, CEO of CentraCare, said. “It delivers on the promise of Meeker Memorial’s mission by leveraging CentraCare’s experience in primary and specialty care and will provide patients with reliable and consistent access to a full range of health care services close to home.”

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