Grand River cuts its umbilical cord to St. Mary’s |

Grand River cuts its umbilical cord to St. Mary’s

Starting Monday, the Grand River Hospital District will operate independently after discontinuing a management contract with St. Mary’s Hospital of Grand Junction.

Chief executive officer Patrick Howery and chief financial officer Patrick Steinkirchner, recruited in 1999 for their posts by St. Mary’s, will remain as hospital district employees for at least three years.

The hospital district’s board of directors voted on Feb. 20 to end the management arrangement, which started in January 2000.

“This is a positive move for the district, because it indicates that we are now well on our way to being self-sufficient, and that we have the capability to operate independently,” Howery said.

“We were not utilizing the full scope of support services offered in the management arrangement with St. Mary’s after the first year of our relationship, so it was appropriate for us to re-examine the contract. We have been operating independently for a sufficient amount of time, and it’s time we moved out on our own,” he added.

The hospital district’s relationship with St. Mary’s will continue temporarily for information services and purchasing. The hospital district will no longer pay St. Mary’s a management fee, and all services received from St. Mary’s will be on a time and material basis.

In recent years, St. Mary’s has been moving away from managing satellite facilities, and St. Mary’s officials said they would not renew the Grand River management contract in 2003. This discontinuation shortens the timeframe of the contract by eight months.

Earlier, Grand River contracted with Quorum Health Research Inc. for management services.

“They brought with them buying power for purchasing equipment and supplies,” said Shirley LeMoine, a 24-year hospital board member. “With our new arrangement with St. Mary’s, we will retain that advantage without paying a management fee.”

“We feel like we can stand alone now,” she added. “They provided us with the assistance we needed to get ourselves back into the black financially and at the top competitively, and now we can sustain our progress without anyone to prop us up.”

The management contract with St. Mary’s called for St. Mary’s to provide quality administrators, support through information services, purchasing contracts, training, and a close mentoring association with clinical departments.

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