Shawano Medical Center (SMC), a non-profit community hospital in Shawano, and ThedaCare, a northeast Wisconsin not-for-profit health system, have signed a letter of intent to integrate.
Following six months of discussion, SMC’s Board of Trustees agreed unanimously Sept. 30 on the decision, and ThedaCare’s Executive Committee approved it on Oct. 5. Dorothy Erdmann, SMC CEO, and Dr. Dean Gruner, CEO and President of ThedaCare, signed the letter of intent Monday.
The agreement means the two have agreed on the core elements of integration that are good for them both.
“It makes sense to come together,” said Erdmann . “For the past several years, we have been competitors, with mixed results for both parties. We can accomplish more by working together, and the clear winner will be the Shawano community. Shawano Medical Center and ThedaCare Physicians are the family doctors for nearly three-quarters of the residents of the Shawano area. They expect their clinic and hospital staff to work together seamlessly, and a new partnership would help accomplish this.
Erdmann and Dr. Gruner outlined some of the benefits of the integration, including:
•Streamlined access to care for patients
•Minimal duplication of services
•A common electronic medical record
•Continuation of a strong local voice including a local Board of Directors
•New resources for the hospital Foundation, while still under local control
•An open medical staff for doctors, which means that doctors from many clinics can practice at the hospital
•A no-layoff philosophy for the 400 SMC employees
•Access to more financial resources
•More specialists, including cardiology, oncology and physical medicine
•Participation in quality improvement projects
“Our shared commitment to strengthening local care brought us together,” Erdmann added. “This new relationship would reduce service duplication and costs and expand services in the Shawano area, including cardiology, oncology and rehab medicine. Just as important, Shawano Medical Center would continue to have a community board of directors looking out for what is in the best interest of our local community, when this integration is completed.”
“We’ve always believed that 95 percent of the care most people need can and should be delivered within the local community,” said Dr. Gruner. “That is why we think it is important that the already great care delivered by those at Shawano Medical Center stays in Shawano.
In addition, ThedaCare has committed to planning and building a replacement hospital in Shawano. The new facility will be efficient, patient-centered and will eliminate duplication. Both ThedaCare and the hospital will commit capital funds to the project. Planning will begin in 2011.
As previously announced, ThedaCare also will invest up to $2.8 million to install its electronic medical records system (EMR) at Shawano Medical Center in 2011, integrating and linking hospital operations in real time with ThedaCare’s system-wide EMR, including ThedaCare Physicians-Shawano.
Shawano Medical Center is an independent, nonprofit hospital in Shawano. It serves 35,000 people in Shawano, Menominee, and surrounding counties. Shawano Medical Center includes a critical-access (25-bed) hospital, the Riverside Clinic, Wellness Works, Sports Medicine, and Shawano Community Hospice.
ThedaCare (www.thedacare.org) is a community-owned health system consisting of Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, New London Family Medical Center, Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca, ThedaCare Physicians, and other health care services. ThedaCare is the largest employer in Northeast Wisconsin with nearly 5,400 employees.