Rock Rapids, Iowa — A new hospital is in the planning stages in Rock Rapids.
Years ago, the name of the current Sanford Rock Rapids hospital was “Merrill Pioneer Community Hospital.” While the name has changed, the private organization that owns the hospital remains Merrill Pioneer Community Hospital.
While it is a private organization filed with the state, and there’s no municipal or county interest, there is an association that helps make decisions with the board of directors. MPCH Association was organized when the original hospital was built in the 1950’s, according to hospital officials.
According to vice president of the hospital’s board, John Hulshof, MPCH wants to build a new facility. MPCH has previously expressed interest in building in the new development area called Forster Development, west of Highway 75 and north of Twelveth Street. The land in that area is currently undeveloped farmland.
The affiliation with Sanford Health System is a lease of the hospital and its facilities to Sanford. He says the 1999 MPCH lease with what was then Sioux Valley and now is Sanford expires in three years. Hulshof says that since MPCH may need a year to secure financing commitment and design the project, followed by approximately two years of construction, the MPCH board is holding membership meetings for information and decision purposes.
Hulshof says since MPCH is a private organization, the meetings are not open to the public.