Agreement reached: Silverton Health to join Legacy Health system

January 2016 Posted in Business, News

By Kristine Thomas

The countless hours, reams of paperwork, long discussions, yet another meeting and attention to detail has resulted in a document that makes all those involved proud of their work.

And the document has brought tears of joy and relief to Sarah Fronza, interim president/CEO of Silverton Health.

On Dec. 16, the governing boards for Silverton Health and Legacy Health signed a definitive agreement that outlines how the two healthcare organizations will join together.

“This agreement means the security of exceptional healthcare for my own family and for my community,” Fronza said. “It means our hospital is secure for the future.”

In March of 2015, the Silverton Health Governing Board voted to begin formal discussions with Legacy Health about partnering.

The board said in order for Silverton Health to remain vital, it could no longer remain a standalone health system. The hospital was faced with  large capital project needs without the cash to fund them.

The board concluded joining with another healthcare organization would provide Silverton Health with the means to grow and provide quality service to the community.

Fronza said both Silverton and Legacy have long traditions of serving their communities.

“This affiliation builds upon our traditions and furthers our missions,” Fronza said.

Dr. George Brown, who is the president/CEO of Legacy Health, said as nonprofit, tax-exempt, community-based organizations, the missions commit both organizations to continuously managing and improving the health of the populations and communities they serve.

“The affiliation allows Legacy and Silverton to integrate their care delivery with the help of shared information technology, telemedicine, clinical protocols, comprehensive quality improvement activities, and specialty services and consultation,” Brown said.

The definitive agreement will be submitted to the Oregon Attorney General’s Office for review and approval, with the affiliation expected to be finalized in early spring.

“The affiliation will allow the growth and expansion of the services we provide to better meet our communities’ needs,” Fronza said. “This affiliation means Legacy is making a commitment to our community.”

Both Fronza and Brown said the move will benefit both healthcare organizations. There will be shared ways to improve population health while reducing the cost of care. Legacy has pledged to invest more than $60 million over eight years to support and grow programs and services for Silverton Health.

“I think this affiliation means nothing but good things for both Silverton and Legacy,” Brown said. “We have no intention to change the small town feel of Silverton Health. We realize it’s not Portland. We do offer knowledge on things to improve. The level of quality service the hospital provides to its patients will continue.”

Legacy will help Silverton Health to upgrade its electronic record and imaging systems, for example, Brown said, adding it already supports Silverton Health’s billing and collections system.

“We are both committed to providing exceptional care to our patients,” Brown said.  “This marriage is a good thing for both parties.”

Fronza said Legacy Health understands the importance of providing community healthcare.

“We will continue to have our board and our foundation and we will continue to have a voice on how things happen,” Fronza said. “The affiliation allows us to grow and expand.”

Events such as the Silverton Health Fun Run will continue, Fronza said.

Once the state approves the affiliation, Silverton Health’s name will change to Legacy Silverton Medical Center.
It will become the seventh of Legacy Health’s medical centers and its only medical center in Marion County.

Legacy Health, Oregon’s only locally owned nonprofit healthcare organization, includes Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel, Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center, Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center, Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center, Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center, Legacy Laboratory Services, Legacy Research, Legacy Medical Group and CareMark/Managed HealthCare Northwest PPO.

All of the clinics and facilities of Silverton Health will operate under the Legacy brand and all Silverton Health employees will become employees of Legacy Health, Fronza said.

In addition to Silverton Hospital, Silverton Health is comprised of primary care and specialty clinics in Silverton, Mount Angel, Keizer and Woodburn.

Fronza said the Silverton Health Foundation and the local governing board will remain in place, with the foundation continuing to fund raise for Silverton Health and community services. A board member from Legacy will serve on the Silverton board and one from Silverton will join Legacy’s board.

Silverton Health’s governing board members are Gayle Goschie, chair; Dave Buck, vice chair; Beth Davisson, secretary; Darcy Ruef, treasurer; Dr. Keith Haugen, medical staff president; Dr. Elizabeth Blount, Mike Dickman, Robert Engle, Dr. M. Frank Golden, Jane Jones, Gary Simon and John Zielinski.

Haugen said the definitive agreement is a “huge win for our whole community.”

“This agreement will allow us to continue to serve Silverton with first-class healthcare right here in our town.”

Haugen said it was a long and involved process to reach the point where both parties signed the definitive agreement.

Silverton Health’s Governing board “really rose to the occasion by consistently placing the community’s needs at the forefront,” Haugen said. “I believe that at the end of the day we have succeeded spectacularly in our primary goal of giving our community a solid foundation for high-quality local healthcare for decades to come.”

From the beginning of the process, Goschie said the board wanted to find a hospital system whose culture matched “ours, the personal touch that is given to patients that we so often hear about from patients or relatives of our patients.”

Goschie said there are reasons the doctors, nurses, technicians and administration have chosen Silverton to practice their professions.

“They’ve come or stayed where they’ve grown up to work in a local community,” Goschie said. “Our alliance with Legacy will not diminish those wishes and dreams.”

Goschie said Silverton Health has reached an agreement “with an independent Oregon healthcare system that recognizes what we have built. Access to exceptional healthcare will continue to be our local standard of care.”

Dave Buck said the work done by  Silverton and Legacy was extremely collaborative with the primary goal of great heath care options for the Silverton Health community as the focal point.

“This agreement means that the entire Silverton Health community will continue to have access to the best available care opportunities,” Buck said.

He added he is extremely proud of the way that all of the stakeholders of the Silverton Health system contributed to the process of getting the agreement done.

“I am also pleased with the integrity and willingness of Legacy to team up with Silverton Health,” Buck said.

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