Rock Rapids, Iowa — Changes are on the horizon for health care in Rock Rapids in the coming years.
The owner of the current facility, the Merrill Pioneer Community Hospital Association and Avera Health have jointly announced that they have reached an agreement for Avera to lease to operations of the Rock Rapids community hospital and clinics beginning in May, 2019.
The community hospital is owned by Merrill Pioneer Community Hospital Association, which in the past has leased hospital operations to Sanford Health. The Hospital Association Board recently voted to lease hospital operations to Avera when its current lease expires in 2019.
Partnering with Avera, the Hospital Association plans to build a state-of-the-art replacement hospital and clinic in Rock Rapids.
The Rock Rapids hospital is currently a 16-bed Critical Access Hospital. Clinics located in the communities of Rock Rapids and George provide family medicine services. Under the new lease agreement, Avera will hire every employee, match their rate of pay and offer a competitive benefits package.
Curt Hohman, Avera Senior Vice President for Managed Facilities says that Avera has a long history of positive working relationships with community hospitals and they look forward to forming this new partnership with Rock Rapids and the surrounding communities. He says they tailor their partnership agreements to communities’ needs and they took nine months to listen to the Association’s long-term goals. Hohman says they found that their aspirations for the organization matched their top priorities of providing quality care, close to home, and keeping local health care strong.
The Hospital Association conducted an extensive assessment of its future needs, and looked for a partnership that would help answer those needs in the best way for the entire community.
Jim Vander Woude, Hospital Association Board President says that Rock Rapids is a growing community, and with that comes a growing need for quality health care services. He says that the community is excited about the future of health care in Lyon County, and planning for a new facility that will help the hospital provide quality care for decades to come.
He goes on to say that the community is fortunate to have two strong systems in the area, and the board has great respect for both. He says they found that Avera’s vision aligns with their vision for the community, and so they feel confident in choosing the direction of a long-term partnership with Avera.
The Hospital Association Board and Avera will begin working immediately to secure financing for the new campus project and will establish a design team to include members from both organizations. The team will seek community input on the design through focus groups and community meetings.